The European Commission on Tuesday approved a cooperation agreement between Serbia and EU border agency Frontex to manage immigration and tackle crime at the EU's external borders. The European Parliament will have the final say on the accord.
The agreement provides for Frontex troops to be deployed at the border between Serbia and EU countries. Frontex can assist Serbia to manage border areas and to carry out joint operations to tackle irregular immigration and cross-border crime, in particular in the event of sudden migration peaks. The European Parliament will give the final green light on the accord.
Similar cooperation agreements between Frontex and western Balkan countries were reached with Albania and Montenegro while accords with Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are being finalized. Serbia is presently negotiating with Brussels over its membership in the bloc. It shares a border with EU member states Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Croatia.
Attention on migration flows in Balkans must remain high, Avramopoulos
Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, signed the deal on behalf of the EU on the sidelines of the EU-Western-Balkans justice forum in Skopje. Avramopoulos stressed that migration flows are on the rise in the Balkan region. Though the situation can't be compared to the crisis registered 2015-2016, the phenomenon needed monitoring, he said.
At the center of the forum's agenda were migration policies, border security, cooperation against corruption, crime and terrorism as well as the fight against trafficking in human beings, drugs and weapons. Speaking about North Macedonia, the commissioner said the country has not asked for financial help so far to create migrant hosting centers. ''In any case, if Skopje's government will need financial support, ''we are here to provide assistance'', he said.