21 May: European Border and Coast Guard launches first operation in a non-EU country* - EU monitor

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Friday, December 6, 2019
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Source: European Commission (EC), published on Tuesday, May 21 2019.

The news

On 21 May, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, in cooperation with Albania, will launch its first joint operation on the territory of a non-EU country. This will be the first operation of its kind, marking a new phase for border cooperation between the EU and Western Balkan partners. The launch event will take place in Tirana, Albania, in the presence of Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Fabrice Leggeri, alongside Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama and Minister of Interior of Albania Sandėr Lleshaj.

The background

The negotiations on a Status Agreement on border cooperation between the European Border and Coast Guard and Albania started in December 2017. The Agreement was concluded on 5 October 2018 and entered into force on 1 May 2019, becoming the first agreement of its kind with a neighbouring non-EU country and an EU partner from the Western Balkans.

The agreement allows the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to carry out joint operations and deploy teams at the borders shared by Albania and the EU. In agreement with the Albanian authorities, operations will be launched to help tackle irregular migration, especially in the event of sudden changes in migratory flows, and cross border crime. The first joint operation will start on 22 May at the Albanian-Greek border.

Since the launch of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in October 2016, the Agency can carry out deployments and joint operations on the territory of neighbouring non-EU countries. The reinforced Agency will now also be able to launch joint operations and deploy staff in countries beyond the EU's immediate neighbourhood.

The event

The launch will take place in Tirana, Albania on 21 May. During a high-level event, Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, Executive Director of European Border and Coast Guard Agency Fabrice Leggeri, Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama and Minister of Interior of Albania Sandėr Lleshaj will deliver speeches and review the staff and equipment to be deployed at the Albanian-Greek border. A joint press conference will take place at 11:45 and will be streamed live on EbS.

For press arrangements and accreditations please contact: Press@frontex.europa.eu

*Updated 13 May 2019 at 18:20

AGENDA/19/2490