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Romania - Integrated Border Security System

In the late 1980s thousands of Hungarians from Romania fled to Hungary and applying for asylum there. In 1988, 13,400 refugees were legally accepted and granted temporary residence permits by the Hungarian authorities. Around 12,700 of these remain in Hungary, the rest having left for the West or returned (a very small number) to Romania. In an attempt to prevent this outflow, the Romanian authorities started to build a fence along the Hungarian/Romanian border in 1988 by mid-June 1989 some 78 kilometers out of a projected 300 had been completed. However on 24 June 1989 for no apparent reason part of the fence began to be dismantled.

In 2004, Romania hired EADS Defence & Security (DS) to deploy a land-based system of radars to detect illegal immigrant crossings. Securing its border was a condition for the nation to join the European Union. The company installed the sensors and also set up communications pipes to pull the data back to central control rooms where the border would be monitored. The contract with the European Aeronautic Defense and Space company to provide software, radars, helicopters and naval vessels was signed during a visit to Bucharest by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on 12 August 2004.

The EADS contract covers the provision of surveillance systems (e.g. infrared cameras and other sensors), command and control facilities, including all the necessary hardware and software, a communications and IT infrastructure plus construction work aimed at improving the working conditions of the Romanian border police. Due to the fact that the contents of the border control contract are directly related to Romanian security measures EADS was not in the position to provide specific details.

Romania re-negotiated the contract for border security hardware awarded to European aerospace giant EADS without competition, Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu said 15 February 2005. The centre-right government of Tariceanu, named in December 2004, promised to review a number of contracts granted without competition. "The contract with EADS will be renegotiated because it duplicates programs already financed by the European Union to increase border security", Tariceanu said. He added that a review of the contract, worth approximately one billion euros (1.3 billion dollars), would also mean that Romania would "pay the correct price". The Romanian premier promised to reveal details of the deal, which had been classified as secret by the previous Social-Democrat government of Adrian Nastase, so that "its clauses are known to the authorities and the public".

Romania awarded EADS a contract valued at 650 million (about $790 million). The exact value of the contract was renegotiated because of overlap with other contracts, but was likely to be worth approximately 550 million (about $670 million), according to EADS. That sum did not include any vehicles, vessels and helicopters needed to do the work, which could raise the overall value.

Romania was beefing up border security in preparation for the 2007 ascension as a member of the European Union (EU). Instability in neighboring Ukraine and Moldova and the dangers of weapons and drug smuggling from Transnistria, a small breakaway republic from Moldova, makes border security particularly challenging. The demands made of new EU members with regards to border surveillance are to meet the set of rules adopted under the Schengen Convention and subsequent decisions and declarations adopted by the Schengen bodies. The key requirement from a secured communication system is that it is linked to the Schengen Information system. The Schengen information system (SIS) was set up to allow police forces and consular agents from the Schengen countries to access data on specific individuals (i.e. criminals wanted for arrest or extradition, missing persons, third-country nationals to be refused entry) and on goods which have been lost or stolen.

Subsequently, the Romanian Ministry of Administration and Interior and EADS Deutschland GmbH signed the Extended First Detailed Appendix to the Contract in July 2009, concluded with a view to achieving and implementing the Integrated System for the Security of the Romanian External State Border Phase 1. The project had three phases. The first phase, was initially planned to end in December 2007, focused on the outer borders with Ukraine, Moldova and the Black Sea. The second phase, was to run from January 2007 to March 2009, focused on inner borders, such as the border with Yugoslavia, and on adding depth to border security near the Black Sea and southern Moldova. The third phase, was to run from November 2008 to December 2009, strengthened border security with Bulgaria and Hungary and involved creating a headquarters in Bucharest.

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Page last modified: 17-02-2017 19:32:21 ZULU