The European Border and Coast Guard Agency has launched its first joint operation with border officials of a non-EU country, Albania.
Border and Coast Guard agents from the EU will team with members of the Albanian border agency along the border between Greece and Albania, working collaboratively to enhance security and strengthen the border. The EU-Albania joint operation represents the agency’s first step into border co-operation with a non-Member State.
Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, said: “Today we mark a milestone for our agency and the wider cooperation between the European Union and Albania. We are launching the first fully fledged joint operation outside the European Union to support Albania in border control and tackling cross-border crime.”
The European Border and Coast Guard will provide operational support and technical assistance to the Albanian border agents, who will retain full responsibility for and oversight on border operations; in full co-operation with Albanian and Greek national authorities. The agency will initially deploy 50 officers, 16 patrol vehicles and a van equipped with thermo-vision technology from Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovenia. The increased international co-operation on border issues is expected to contribute to the efficient and effective management of irregular migration and strengthen the capacity of the agency to conduct operations along the EU’s exterior borders.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: “With the first ever deployment of European Border and Coast Guard teams outside of the EU, we are opening an entirely new chapter in our cooperation on migration and border management with Albania and with the whole Western Balkan region. This is a real game changer and a truly historical step, bringing this region closer to the EU by working together in a coordinated and mutually supportive way on shared challenges such as better managing migration and protecting our common borders.”