Vietnam's delegation attending the event. (Source: VNA)

The EU and ASEAN on October 20 launched a three-year programme to enhance border management and security across the ASEAN region.

Known as the EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme II (EA-MBMP II), the programme aims to improve connectivity by strengthening law enforcement networks and co-operation at main regional transit hubs.

The EA-MBMP II was funded by the EU and the INTERPOL will implement it.

"With the current transnational organised crime that crosses national borders, increased border control through the support of law enforcers is a key tool in suppressing transnational threats in ASEAN," said Sieng Lapresse, Government Advisor and Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) Leader of Cambodia.

The intra-regional connectivity within ASEAN would benefit all ASEAN member states, but at the same time ASEAN seeks to strengthen relations with ASEAN Dialogue Partners and friends, he added.

The plan is a continuation of the pilot EU-ASEAN Border Management Programme, which saw the expansion of access to INTERPOL's tools and services to frontline police in 16 sites - eight each in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Bui Chi Phuong from the Department of External Relations under the Ministry of Public Security and head of the Vietnamese delegation in the programme, said Vietnam was a positive member, taking part in the programme in the first stage and committing to implementing the second stage.

"The EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme II deals with some of the most challenging phenomenon in our times – the growing movement of people across borders in an ever more global and connected world. We can observe this phenomenon in all regions of the world, including in the ASEAN region and in Europe these days," said Francisco Fontan, EU ambassador to ASEAN.

This programme has been designed to better equip and support Southeast Asian countries' authorities to manage their borders and better address challenges posed by human trafficking and other transnational organised crimes; this in an effective way that also protects vulnerable groups and respects human dignity, he added.

During the second phase, a study will be carried out to assess the feasibility of a simplified via procedure for ASEAN and non-ASEAN nationals to facilitate cross-border movement. An academic study will be conducted by a university in the region to provide in-depth analysis of existing procedures in order to provide recommendations for ASEAN.-VNA