EU to finance border demarcation

  • 2002-05-09
  • Agence France Presse

The European Union will finance the demarcation procedure for the Belarus-Lithuanian border to the tune of 3.4 million euros ($3 million), officials said May 6.

The EU Tacis program would grant the money to Belarus to construct necessary installations on the 653-kilometer land border, which when Lithuania joins the bloc will become an external border of the European Union.

The construction project, which was awarded to Belarus' Minskvosdstroi company, would take 11 months to complete, company Director Stepan Pavlovich said.

"This will help us put a firm barrier against all kinds of criminal activity on the border, like illegal migration, drug trafficking and illegal arms sales," Belarus' border guard chief Alexander Pavlovsky affirmed.

"It also means the European Union is stepping away from double standards and would give equal aid to Eastern European states," Pavlovsky added.

"This is the EU's contribution to Belarus' independence and peaceful co-existence with neighboring countries," Raul de Luzenberger, head of the Tacis office in Minsk, said.

According to Luzenberger, the EU would set aside another 20 million euros to fund other projects aimed at improving Belarus' border infrastructure, such as sending more equipment and technical data to help Belarusian border guards combat illegal migration and drug trade.

Every year Belarusian border guards detain up to 6,000 illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa, who cross Belarus' borders on their way to Western Europe.