First Operation Outside the EU
On 21 May 2019, Frontex launched its first full-fledged joint operation outside the European Union. This first operation in Albania aimed at supporting Albanian border guards with border control and at combating cross-border crime.
For the operation, 50 officers from 12 EU Member States, 16 patrol cars, and one thermo-vision van were deployed to Albania’s border with Greece.
This new cooperation procedure was made possible by a status agreement on border cooperation between the EU and Albania on actions carried out by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in the Republic of Albania. It came into force on 1 May 2019. The agreement covers all necessary aspects for carrying out actions (joint operations, rapid border interventions, and return operations) on the part of the Agency in the territory of Albania. Executive powers are given to team members, i.e., Agency staff, border guards, and other relevant staff from participating Member States. An operational plan must be established detailing the organisational and procedural aspects for each operation.