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October 15, 2022

EU Council Decides to Sign Agreement With North Macedonia on

The Council of the European Union has decided to sign an agreement on border management cooperation between North Macedonia and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).

According to the Council, this agreement will allow a joint operation to be organised as well as Frontex border management teams to be deployed in North Macedonia, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Commenting on the decision, the Minister of the Interior of the Czech Republic, Vít Rakušan, said that the agreement would allow Frontex to provide support on the ground, which will benefit both North Macedonia and the European Union countries.

“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,” the statement of Rakušan reads.

The Council explains that once this agreement enters into force, Frontex will be able to assist North Macedonia in managing migratory flows, tackle cross-border crime, as well as counter illegal immigration.

Additionally, it has been pointed out that reinforcing control along the border of North Macedonia will contribute to further enhancing security at the external border of the EU.

The agreement also includes revisions for the protection of fundamental rights and compliance monitoring.

The EU Commission, the Council Presidency, and North Macedonia are expected to sign this agreement on October 20. Moreover, the EU Parliament will be invited to provide its agreement as soon as possible.

Earlier in July, Frontex said that the Western Balkan route recorded the highest number of irregular entries in the first half of 2022. The illegal entries in this route increased almost three times compared to the same period in 2021, and the increase was attributed to crossing attempts made by migrants who were already in Western Balkan countries.

“The most significant increase was recorded on the Western Balkan route, where the number of detections increased nearly 3-fold compared with the first six months of 2021. This increase can be attributed to crossing attempts by migrants already present in the Western Balkans,” Frontex said.

Other routes, such as the Central Mediterranean and the Eastern Mediterranean, also registered a high number of illegal crossings in the first six months of 2021.

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