Frontex and Albania agreed to strengthen their cooperation on the protection of fundamental rights, making sure that all those taking part in the Frontex operations in Albania respect and protect the dignity of the people crossing the borders.
The agreement in the form of a memorandum of understanding was signed by Frontex Executive Director Hans Leijtens and Albania’s Minister of the Interior Bledar Cuci in Tirana.
"This milestone confirms our joint commitment to uphold fundamental rights in all our operational activities in Albania. Today's agreement is more than a signature on paper; it is a tangible expression of our collective dedication to uphold the dignity and safety of all those crossing European borders,” said the Frontex Executive Director Hans Leijtens.
The agreement aims to ensure the exchange of information and cooperation between the agency and Albanian authorities related to allegations of fundamental rights violations in Frontex operational activities on the territory of Albania. Both Frontex and Albanian authorities have independent complaints mechanisms in place, and today's agreement builds a bridge between them. Frontex is responsible for handling all complaints related to alleged misconduct of the agency’s officers, while Albanian authorities – of their staff.
In February 2022, the Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer Jonas Grimheden, who also took part in the signing ceremony on Monday, and the Albanian Ombudsman signed a separate agreement on cooperation and information exchange.
Frontex launched the joint operation in Albania, the agency’s first operation in the Western Balkans, in May 2019. There are currently 162 European border guard officers working alongside Albanian Border Police.
The primary objective of this joint operation is to effectively manage migration, fight against various forms of cross-border crime like human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and terrorism, and strengthen collaborative efforts at the shared land border between Albania and Greece.
During his visit in Albania, the Frontex Executive Director is also meeting Frontex standing corps officers deployed at the border with Greece and with the Albanian Border Police.