BRUSSESL: The Council today adopted a decision to sign an agreement on border management cooperation between the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and North Macedonia. It also agreed to send the draft decision on the conclusion of the agreement to the European Parliament for its consent.
“The EU and the Western Balkans share common migratory challenges and the only way to address these is through joint action. The agreement with North Macedonia is an important step in this close cooperation. It will allow Frontex to provide concrete support on the ground, to the benefit of both North Macedonia and EU countries.”
Vít Rakušan, Minister of the Interior of Czech Republic
Once this agreement is in force, Frontex will be able to assist North Macedonia in its efforts to manage migratory flows, counter illegal immigration, and tackle cross border crime. The agreement will allow joint operations to be organised and Frontex border management teams to be deployed in North Macedonia, subject to the country’s agreement.
Reinforcing controls along North Macedonia’s borders will contribute to further enhancing security at the EU’s external borders.
In line with the European border and coast guard regulation, the agreement also includes provisions for compliance monitoring and for the protection of fundamental rights.
The European Commission, the Council Presidency and North Macedonia are expected to sign the agreement on 20 October. The European Parliament will be invited to provide its agreement as soon as possible
A first agreement on border management cooperation was concluded with Albania in 2019. Following this, Frontex launched the first-ever joint operation on the territory of a neighbouring non-EU country in Albania on 22 May 2019.
Status agreements with Montenegro and Serbia were concluded in May 2020. A similar agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina is under negotiation.