The European Union’s Frontex border agency deployed on Tuesday for the first time outside the EU, setting up on Albania’s border with Greece to help fight illegal migration and crime.
Supervised by an Albanian team leader, the Frontex officers are empowered to act as Albanian officers to spot illegal crossings, check them and collect information, and also fight human and drug trafficking and car theft.
“We know the pressure is high, and this route is dynamic and we have to be ready in case the irregular migration flows would increase in summer this year,” Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri told Reuters.
Albania is keen to let EU member states see it is serious about fighting crime so it can boost its chances of starting accession talks with the EU.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU’s Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner, said the overall situation along the Western Balkans route was stable, with low levels of arrivals.
But, he said: “We need to remain vigilant”