TIRANA - The European Union and Albania reached a deal on Monday to allow European police to deploy on Albanian territory to handle immigration issues, which Brussels hopes can be a model for other countries in the Western Balkans.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU's Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship initialled the accord along with Albania's Interior Minister Fatmir Xhafaj. It still must be approved by EU member states.
"Albania is a frontrunner in the region, and the agreement will serve as a role model for similar arrangements we are negotiating with other partners in the Western Balkans," Avramopoulos said.
"Closer cooperation between Albania and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will allow us to be quicker and more flexible in the way we respond to any potential migratory challenges," he told a news conference with Xhafaj.
The Commission is negotiating similar agreements with Serbia and Macedonia and hopes for a swift conclusion to both sets of negotiations, the EU delegation in Tirana said in a statement.