Council: More Operational Activities with Western Balkans Partners
On 5 June 2020, the Council adopted conclusions on enhancing cooperation with Western Balkans partners in the field of migration and security. Support to the Western Balkans should be maintained in order to:
- Achieve a more efficient migration policy and border management;
- Further improve the countries’ asylum systems;
- Enhance cooperation on readmission and return;
- Effectively combat terrorism and organised crime (especially organised criminal networks engaged in migrant smuggling, trafficking of firearms, drugs production and trafficking, trafficking in human beings, document fraud. and money laundering);
- Boost the Western Balkans countries’ ability to address the spread of disinformation and fake news and respond to possible cyber-attacks and hybrid threats.
The conclusions place emphasis on reinforcing operational cooperation between the Western Balkans and the EU. As a result, possibilities for closer cooperation with EU agencies, such as Europol and Frontex, should be explored. Furthermore, broader convergence of operational standards and capacities between Western Balkans and EU partners in the field of migration and security are to be developed. Western Balkans partners should also be increasingly involved in relevant operational actions, e.g., Joint Investigation Teams and operational task forces. The Commission is, inter alia, called on to promote the timely exchange of counter terrorism-related information and to strengthen capacities for addressing other security challenges.