Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos participated in the EU-Western Balkans Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Forum in Tirana, Albania, on October 5, where he reaffirmed strong cooperation between the EU and Western Balkan partners on border management, counter-terrorism and organised crime.

An important milestone was reached on border management with Albania with the signature of an agreement allowing for operational cooperation between the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and Albania. The agreement, signed by Commissioner Avramopoulos, Austrian Minister of the Interior, Herbert Kickl and Albanian Minister of the Interior Fatmir Xhafaj, is the first one to be concluded with a third country.

Commissioner Avramopoulos and Western Balkans partners also signed the Joint EU–Western Balkans Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism, which sets out concrete steps for enhanced cooperation in countering terrorism and preventing radicalisation over the next two years. It is a key deliverable under the Commission’s strategy for ‘A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans’ of February 2018.

Finally, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) tightened its cooperation on drugs monitoring with Albania initialling a working arrangement.

In the margins of the meeting, Commissioner Věra Jourová attended the signing ceremony of the Eurojust – Albania cooperation agreement by the Albanian Minister of Justice, Etilda Gjonaj, and the President of Eurojust, Ladislav Hamran. This agreement will facilitate the cooperation between Albanian judicial authorities and Eurojust to better fight crime.