European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Nebojša Stefanović, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the Republic of Serbia, initialled on September 20 a status agreement that will allow European Border and Coast Guard teams to be deployed in Serbia, the European Commission said.
“The agency will be able to assist Serbia in border management and carry out joint operations with Serbia, in particular in the event of a sudden change in migratory flows,” the commission said.
Avramopoulos said: “Today is another milestone in our co-operation with Serbia on migration, border management and security. I want to thank the Serbian authorities for their efforts, willingness and commitment to reach this agreement.
“Step by step, we are better protecting the EU’s external borders, and we are doing so also by cooperating more closely with partner countries in our direct neighbourhood and beyond.
I look forward to finalising the agreement soon and hope to also swiftly conclude the ongoing negotiations with other Western Balkan partners,” Avramopoulos said.
Last week, following European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union Address 2018, the Commission proposed to further reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard, “giving it the right level of ambition and allowing the joint operations and deployments to take place in countries beyond the EU’s immediate neighbourhood.”
The September 20 agreement with Serbia is the third agreement initialled with partner countries from the Western Balkan region, following Albania in February and the Republic of Macedonia in July.