Migrants: EU-Serbia accord signed for Frontex intervention

Commissioner Avramopoulos in Belgrade with minister Stefanovic

20 September, 13:19

    (ANSAmed) - BELGRADE, SEPTEMBER 20 - European Commissioner for Home Affairs and Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos on Thursday signed an agreement in Belgrade with Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic to deploy EU border agency Fontex units in Serbia. The agreement, the commissioner said, will enable Frontex, in cooperation with Serbian police, to control illegal migrant pathways at the border, boosting the security of the European Union's external borders.

    Stefanovic for his part stressed that the security of citizens is important for Serbia. Highlighting the good cooperation with Brussels, the minister noted that when the migrant crisis along the Balkan route began in 2015, the EU behaved with Serbia as if it were a member State.

    The EU has recently signed two similar agreements to deploy Frontex units with Albania and Macedonia. Commissioner Avramopoulos added that Frontex will not replace Serbian border police but will provide support in patrolling borders in order for the EU to boost the defense and security of its external borders.

    The Union, he added, will continue supporting Serbia along its path towards European integration and in no way the liberalization of visas concerning Serbian citizens will be under discussion. ''Serbia is a European country with an excellent history and people, I hope that the doors of the EU will open for Serbia'', the commissioner said.

    The agreement signed today, he continued, is not only important for Serbia but also for the border security of the entire western Balkan region. The cooperation of the European Union with the region will help fight organized crime, improving the management of potential migration crises: ''Serbia is an important factor of stability in the region and can have a leading role in all of this''.

    Interior Minister Stefanovic thanked the commissioner for his constant support of Serbia's European path, stressing that the agreement signed today is very important to defend Serbian borders and for the security of its citizens. (ANSAmed).

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