The most important thing is to get to know each other and work together!
On May 16, 2018, the II meeting of the steering group within the INTERREG V-A Latvia-Lithuania programme project “SYNERGY FOR SECURITY” took place in Karsava district. The report was completed over the course of several hours because in fact that the project was implemented through a study visit to the Netherlands and Germany, an experience exchange tour on intelectual video surveillance systems in Latvian-Lithuanian border territory, as well as thematic meeting on illegal immigration.
The project partner was first admitted to the Karsava district, therefore, in the introductory speech, the head of the meeting, Ināra Silicka, Chairwoman of the Kārsava County Council, briefly presented the guests to the Karsava district. Historically, the situation with Karsava and Krāslava has often been mixed, which sometimes brings about some interesting situations. For example, road planners need to work in Krāslava but they arrive in Karsava region. The laughter in the audience was that Silickas confessed that the Kārsava City Council would be delighted if they designed the roads, but the Krāslava City Council would pay for it. However, the two Latgale municipalities have much in common, for example, both of them are of strategic transit routes and both are located in the border area, only Krāslava district is bordered by Belarus but Karsava by Russia.
In such a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, the steering group continued. Vytautas Vaiškūnas, Chief of the Utena County Headquarters Police (LT), stressed that there is already a lot of accomplishments, especially in the so-called “soft” part of the project – video surveillance systems in both countries have been studied and analyzed, the experience of European colleagues and latest technologies have been learned, the staff was trained and educated.
The topic was continued by Jānis Anspoks, chief of Daugavpils precinct in the Latgale regional administration of the State Police (LAT), who told about the study trip within the framework of the Latvia-Lithuania programme project. Representatives of the Latvian and Lithuanian Police and Border Guard visited a Kingdom of the Netherlands and Germany. During the visit, the delegation visited Europol headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands. Europol’s objective is to support and strengthen cooperation between the competent authorities of the Member States by preventing and combating organized crime, terrorism and other forms of serious crime affecting two or more Member States, as well as providing strategic analysis and threat assessment.
Latvia at Europol is represented by the State Police Officer Andrejs Matīss. He informed the participants of the study trip about the possibilities of Europol support, provided both methodological and material technical assistance in the investigation of criminal proceedings and operational activities in case of detection of international – cross-border crime.
Referring to the seminar on the fight against illegal immigration held in Krāslava district in April, Sandis Panga, representative of Latvian State Border Guard Headquarters, emphasized that the successful work should be continued – to organize joint training in both common patrols and driving under extreme conditions.
In an unusual way, as the presenters themselves laughed, now, in a so popular duo in Europe, Giulnara Steponiene, the Lithuanian State Border Guard, and Romualds Stašans, the Latvian State Border Guard, were shared account as a joint project exchange experience. In the beginning of March, 4 municipalities – Daugavpils and Jelgava in Latvia and Siauliai and Visaginas in Lithuania – were visited in the experience exchange trip to get acquainted with intellectual video surveillance systems. The overall conclusion after learning the situation in Jelgava and Šiauliai – Jelgava has evolved greatly in the field of implementation of various “smart” technologies. As G.Steponiene admitted – Jelgava has been in the front of Siauliai for two centuries and continues to develop, while the task of Lithuanian colleagues is to use the opportunities offered by the project to introduce the best experience and technology in their own country as well.
As the project partners first visited Karsava municipality, city council management surprised with the impressive program. The visitors had a unique opportunity to visit at renewed Latvian-Russian border line in Aizgārša border control point, to visit the Malnava Collegue, to get an insight into the grand development plans of Ltd “Latgales dārzeņu loģistika”, and, of course, to enjoy the true Latgale hospitality at bakery “Dzīļu maiznīca”.
Budget: 580 236,21 EUR
85% ERDF funding, 15% national co-financing (incl. state co-financing – 5% in LV, 7,5% in LT)
Duration: 24 MONTHS (May 17, 2017-November 16, 2019) The project is co-financed by the Latvia-Lithuania programme. Project Lead partner is latvian State police.