THE ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN BORDER AND COAST GUARD AGENCY (FRONTEX)
IN THE MANAGEMENT OF THE EXTERNAL BORDERS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION:
THE COOPERATION AGREEMENTS WITH THE WESTERN BALKANS COUNTRIES
The paper, entitled “The role of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) in the management of the external borders of the European Union:the cooperation agreements with the Western Balkans Countries”, deals with the analysis of the agreements that the EU has recently signed with Albania in October 2018, Montenegro in October 2019 and Serbia in November 2019. Similar agreements have also been initialled with North Macedonia in July 2018 and Bosnia and Herzegovina in January 2019, and are pending finalisation. The objective of these “status agreements” is to allow the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to coordinate operational cooperation between EU Member States and the Western Balkans States on the management of the borders that the latter have in common with the European Union. In particular, FRONTEX is allowed, within the framework of the agreements, to assist Balkan States concerned in border management, carry out joint operations and deploy teams in the regions that border the EU. The activities aim at tackling irregular migration, in particular sudden changes in migratory flows, and cross-border crime, and can involve the provision of increased technical and operational assistance at the border. Starting from the examination of these new agreements, to be placed in the more general framework of the relations between the European Union and the Countries – candidates and potential candidates for accession – of the Western Balkans, the paper is aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the means put in place by the EU to ensure the cross-border security of the South-East European border, with particular regard to the effective role played by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
Keywords: Frontex, EU Borders, Western Balkans, Status Agreements, Security.