On Tuesday, the European Union and Serbia signed an agreement on operational cooperation in border management with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, together with the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Ivica Dačić, have signed the agreement in Belgrade, which will allow for increased cooperation between Frontex and Serbia. The signature finalises the negotiations that started in May 2023 and allows to update the current framework in application since May 2021.

This is another deliverable of the EU Action Plan on the Western Balkans presented by the Commission in December 2022. Reinforcing border management along the whole migration route is essential to reduce irregular arrivals, also considering the evolving modus operandi of smugglers, and the risks of firearms trafficking and organised crime. The agreement will allow Frontex to carry out joint operations and deploy the European Border and Coast Guard standing corps anywhere on the territory of Serbia, including its borders with neighbouring non-EU countries.

Frontex currently deploys over 480 officers in the Western Balkans, through joint operations at the Union’s external borders with Albania, North Macedonia, and Montenegro; this includes 111 officers already deployed in Serbia in an ongoing joint operation, conducted under the previous status agreement with Serbia, at the borders with Hungary and Bulgaria.

The strengthened operational cooperation provided by the agreement will contribute to addressing irregular migration and further enhance security in the region. Details of individual operations conducted on the basis of this status agreement will be agreed upon directly between Frontex and the national authorities of Serbia in an operational plan.

Source: European Commission

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