The European Commission and Albania have signed an agreement allowing the EU’s border and coast guard to operate on the Albanian border to prevent illegal immigration into the bloc. The agreement was signed by the European Commission for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos on a trip to the Albanian capital, Tirana on Monday.
The deal will allow the EU’s border security agency Frontex to provide assistance to Albania in the management of its borders with the European Union.
“Albania is part of the European family, historically, geographically and in terms of the geopolitical instability that we encounter, we share the same challenges as Albania, in particular in the fight against illegal emigration, border management and a more efficient fight against organized crime and terrorism. We share a common history and our joint future will also be a European future”, said Avramopoulos.
Albanian Interior Minister Fatmir Xhafaj also reiterated the importance of the agreement. “It will also allow Albania to benefit from the projects that the European Union will propose during the implementation of this agreement,” said the minister. “This is a great opportunity to expand collaboration with the member states of the European Union” in view of a future integration of the country into the Union.
The Commission is currently initiating similar negotiations in Serbia and Macedonia and hopes for a swift conclusion in both negotiations. The agreement with Albania must now be approved by the Member States and will be officially signed at a future date, once both parties have carried out the necessary legal procedures.
The EU and Albania also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Drugs policy. Announcing the signing of the memorandum Avramopoulos said “I am pleased to say that we can now support initiatives in our joint fight against drug-related crime and abuse.”
“I would like to encourage Albania to make full use of this possibility, and to apply for funds to support initiatives in this area. This will allow Albania to step up its efforts to tackle the complex problems of drugs production, trafficking and, consumption.”