EU signs agreement with Albania on European Border and Coast Guard cooperation

EU - Albania flags; Photo: Pixabay

TIRANA – On 5 October 2018, the European Union signed an agreement with Albania on cooperation on border management between Albania and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).

The agreement was signed on behalf of the EU by Herbert Kickl, Minister of the Interior of Austria and President of the Council, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship and on behalf of Albania Interior Minister Fatmir Xhafaj.

This agreement allows the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to coordinate operational cooperation between EU member states and Albania on the management of the EU’s external borders. The European Border and Coast Guard will be able to take action at the external border involving one or more neighbouring member states and Albania. This can include intervention on Albanian territory, subject to Albania’s agreement.

The activities included by the agreement are aimed at tackling irregular migration, in particular sudden changes in migratory flows, and cross-border crime, and can involve the provision of increased technical and operational assistance at the border. For each operation, a plan has to be agreed between the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and Albania.

“The migratory and security challenges do not stop at our external borders. Nor should we. A Europe that protects is a Europe that works together with partner countries in its neighbourhood and beyond. Today’s agreement with Albania – the first of this kind with a third country – is a milestone in the EU’s external cooperation on border management. I hope it will pave the way for greater cooperation with the whole Western Balkan region”, said Avramopoulos.

The introduction of new measures to improve controls at the EU’s external borders has led to a significant drop in illegal border crossings. But more can still be done. Cooperation with our neighbours is particularly important. This agreement will allow us to increase our support to Albania in the field of border management”, emphasised Kickl.