INTERREG IPA Cross Border Cooperation Programme
“Greece – Republic of North Macedonia 2014-2020”
The core idea of the project came about after major concerns of the international community and mainly the European one on dirty bomb creation (which combines radioactive material with conventional explosives) by terrorist groups. This has become more prominent after horrific attacks in Brussels (2016) and reports revealing that terrorists have been working to acquire radioactive materials to create so-called dirty bomb. These radioactive materials are mainly orphan sources. That means a radioactive source which has been abandoned, lost, misplaced, stolen or otherwise transferred without regulatory control.
Greece has installed radiation portal monitors since 2004 in the borders with North Macedonia in order to prevent such kind of actions while North Macedonia on the other side has portable radiation detectors. Two of the beneficiaries (GAEC, PRD) are the national authorities in Greece and North Macedonia who are competent among other things to control the field of radiactive materials. The other beneficiaries have experience on that field and are collaborators of the national authorities.
Problems arise due to lack of collaboration between both countries and the result is delay of cargos and in some cases of people in the cross-border area. It is well known that one of the main problems in transportations is the trafficking of radioactive materials, especially illicit trafficking and ways of detection and localization of radioactive sources. Several efforts have been done to improve the safety and security transportation of radioactive and other hazardous materials that may pose a significant risk to individuals, society and the environment. Despite these efforts several incidents are being observed annually, especially during the transboundary movement of goods.
The objectives of the project are based on synergies and collaboration between partners of the countries (Greece and North Macedonia). There is no use implementing an action only by one country. If one can improve the situation in one country and the situation in the other remain very bad no improvement is going to be achieved. It is evident that speed and quality in cross border checks cannot be achieved without cooperation. Also, pollution dispersion can be easily extended from one country to the other as it is well known that dispersion has no borders.
Common emergency protocols, is the bet that both countries have to win.