The European Union will deploy officers of the EU Border Agency Frontex in Balkan countries seeking to join the community, the Financial Times reported.
According to it, this will be the first case of placing employees of the European border agency outside its jurisdiction. The initiative was launched on the eve of the EU-Western Balkans summit to be held in Tirana on December 6.
The reason for such measure was that Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and unrecognized Kosovo have agreements on visa-free regime with third countries, including low-income ones. Brussels is concerned about the growing flow of illegal migrants entering the EU through the Balkans. In the first 10 months of 2022, the number of third-country nationals entering the community illegally through Balkan countries rose to 130,000. This is the highest number since 2015.
Visa regulation is a must, said European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas.
It is unacceptable that the Western Balkans have visa agreements with third countries whose citizens use loopholes to enter the EU, he added.
Deployment of Frontex units in the Balkans could begin as early as the first months of next year. "This will help strengthen border control along the entire migration route in cooperation with national border services and reduce the flow of irregular migrants," the publication specifies.
The EU-Western Balkans summit will be held in Tirana on December 6. In addition to migration issues, it will discuss the harmonization of foreign and security policies of the Balkan countries with the EU's common political line.