The EU and Serbia have signed an agreement on border management, ensuring co-operation between Serbia and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
The agreement, which is aimed at addressing issues of irregular migration and cross-border criminal activities, will allow the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to provide border management support to Serbian authorities. The agency will be able to conduct operations jointly with its Serbian counterparts and, where necessary, deploy teams to the areas of Serbia which border the EU Member States Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary and Romania.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: “I would like to thank Serbia for its efforts and commitment to ensure closer cooperation with the EU on border and migration management. This is in the interest of both Serbia and the EU. With the agreement signed today, we are further strengthening our relations with Western Balkan partners, bringing this neighbourhood closer to the EU.”
By offering increased operational and technical support to border management in Serbia, the EU expects both to boost international co-operation and strengthen the security of its own external borders. The bloc has already signed similar agreements with Albania and Montenegro; and further deals with Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia have been initialled pending official authorisation.
Minister of the Interior of Finland Maria Ohisalo, who co-signed the agreement along with Commissioner Avramopoulos on behalf of the EU, said: “Co-operation with our partners in the Western Balkans is essential to ensure the successful management of our common borders. Through this agreement [the European Border and Coast Guard Agency] will be able to co-ordinate operational co-operation between EU Member States and Serbia; and provide support and expertise which will bring benefits for all.”
The draft EU-Serbia agreement will now be passed to the European Parliament for final approval.