Home » EU to deploy border agents in the western Balkans for first time

EU to deploy border agents in the western Balkans for first time

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The EU plans to deploy border guards in the western Balkans under agreements with local governments seeking to join the EU, making it the first Frontex officer to be placed outside the EU’s jurisdiction.

The initiative comes after EU and Western Balkans leaders met in Albania on Tuesday to discuss regional stagnant efforts join the block. The negotiations are set to be dominated by immigration, an area Brussels is demanding better alignment with its rules.

Brussels is plagued by visa-free travel deals Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo have with low-income countries, officials offer a back door to EU membership It has said.

The deployment of Frontex, which the EU hopes to start early next year, will help “strengthen border controls along the entire migration route” in conjunction with border guards “to reduce irregular flows”. Deaf Block executives said.

The war-torn region of the 1990s, the Western Balkans has been hailed as a prime target for attacks for decades. Efforts to enlarge the EUThis includes countries that are official EU candidates. 17 years old Some countries are still waiting for the status, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Brussels has taken a tricky route to trying to assuage anger in the provincial capital in the time it takes to join the EU club. build influence.

Tensions with the EU have increased over the number of illegal immigrants using six Western Balkan countries to enter the EU. That surged to about 130,000 in the first 10 months of the year, a level not seen since 2015.

This has fueled other concerns about corruption and stalled reforms. not yetLeaders from all six Balkan partners will meet with bloc nation leaders in the Albanian capital for the first joint summit to be held in the region.

“All partners in the Western Balkans are . .

Frontex, the bloc’s migration agency, has staffed border crossings within the Balkans, pending final approval from the countries concerned, Johansson said.

A giant Albanian flag is paraded during the 110th anniversary of independence celebrations in the capital Pristina in November © Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images

“For us, visa arrangements are a must,” said Margaritis Sinnas, the commission’s vice-president for immigration. “It is unthinkable. It is unacceptable that the Western Balkans have visa-free agreements with third countries, which are using loopholes to gain illegal access to the European Union. “

One EU official involved in the negotiations said using Frontex officials outside the EU was a “completely big step”, demonstrating both how seriously the EU takes the issue and its commitment to engaging the region. He added that he emphasized

Another EU official said there were “very positive signs” of visa adjustments from the Balkans. “[That] It should help ease some of the pressure on the travel routes we’ve seen so far. ”

Alongside immigration, negotiations will focus on closer diplomatic and security policy ties with the EU, including pressure from Brussels for Serbia to adopt Western sanctions against Moscow.

The conference “will clearly reaffirm the ambitions of all member states and call for accelerated accession negotiations,” said a second EU official. “This brings a new dynamism to our relationship.”

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