- Category: Politics
- Published on Saturday, 19 November 2022 14:55
November 18, 2022
The European Union (EU) Council decided Friday to authorize the opening of negotiations with four Western Balkan countries, including Serbia, to broaden agreements on cooperation with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).
The new legal framework should enable the deployment of Frontex staff at internal borders in the region as well and to give them executive powers, the European Commission said earlier.
The EU Council authorization paves the way for the opening of negotiations with Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro on a new Frontex mandate that will allow Frontex staff to exercise executive powers, such as border checks and registration of persons, said the EU Council.
New agreements will allow the agency to assist these countries in their efforts to manage migratory flows, counter illegal immigration and tackle crossborder crime throughout their territory, said the Council.
“Migration challenges in the Western Balkans route don’t start at the EU borders. Cooperation with our partners, including through the deployment of Frontex staff, is essential to detect and block irregular migration movements early on,” said Vit Rakusan, Minister of the Interior of Czech Republic that chairs the EU.
He added that this will improve the protection of EU’s external borders and contribute to efforts by countries in the Western Balkans to stop smugglers from using their territories as transit stages.
Under EU’s already concluded agreements with Albania, Montenegro and Serbia, Frontex was only allowed to carry out joint operations and deploy teams in the regions of the countries bordering the EU. An agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina had also been negotiated under similar terms but it had not been signed.
North Macedonia signed an agreement with Frontex on October 26, which is the first such agreement between the European Commission and North Macedonia in Macedonian language.
The European Commission adopted on October 25 an EU Council recommendation to authorize the opening of negotiations with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia on a new mandate and status of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.