Photo: European Commission
Joint Press statement by Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King, the Ministers of Interior of the Western Balkans and of the current and future presidencies of the Council of the European Union*.
"Today's meeting provided the occasion to discuss common challenges and EU-Western Balkans cooperation in the areas of migration, security, border management and visa policy. In particular, we have addressed the latest developments on increasing irregular migration in some parts of the region and operational measures how to address them. Furthermore, building on the priorities of the Western Balkan Strategy, we have also discussed on-going work in the areas of migration, security, border management and visa policy, also in the context of the upcoming EU-Western Balkans Home Affairs Ministerial taking place on 4-5 October in Tirana.
We agreed that ensuring effective border management, fighting smuggling, and joint efforts to stem irregular migratory flows and prevent a new migration crisis remain top priorities for both the EU and the Western Balkans. All Western Balkan partners recognise the importance of further enhancing cooperation, with the support of the EU, in addressing irregular migration risks and commit to continue working together in the coming months to better monitor, register and exchange information on migratory flows, increase cooperation on border management, enforce and step up returns and readmissions, and to increase efforts to dismantle smugglers and organised crime groups. Follow-up and intensified efforts will continue within the framework of the existing strands of work on the migration routes in the Western Balkans.
The Western Balkan partners also committed to continue joint efforts in addressing the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters, preventing violent extremism and radicalisation, and step up the fight against firearms trafficking. Our cooperation so far has already proven the value of coordinated efforts. Today's meeting built on these efforts and confirmed once again the joint commitment of the Western Balkan partners to step up their work and cooperation to address all these challenges together with the EU."
*Ministers Bejtush GASHI, Herbert KICKL, Dragan MEKTIC, Mevludin NUHODŽIĆ, Valentin RADEV, Oliver SPASOVSKI, Nebojša STEFANOVIĆ, Fatmir XHAFAJ