Serbia will allow European Border and Coast Guard teams to be deployed in the country, to assist in border management and conduct joint operations.

European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Serbia’s deputy prime minister, Nebojša Stefanović, initialled a status agreement during a meeting in Belgrade on September 20.

“Today is another milestone in our cooperation with Serbia on migration, border management and security,” said Avramopoulos. “I want to thank the Serbian authorities for their efforts, willingness and commitment to reach this agreement. Step by step, we are better protecting the EU’s external borders, and we are doing so also by cooperating more closely with partner countries in our direct neighbourhood and beyond. I look forward to finalising the agreement soon and hope to also swiftly conclude the ongoing negotiations with other Western Balkan partners.”

The status agreement with Serbia is the third agreement initialled with partner countries from the Western Balkan region, following Albania in February and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in July. Negotiations with Montenegro and with Bosnia and Herzegovina are ongoing.