The official launch of the Joint Operation Frontex in North Macedonia was carried out by the Ministry of Interior of North Macedonia.
The ceremony, which took place in the capital, Skopje, was attended by Prime Minister of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovacevski, First Deputy Prime Minister Artan Groppi, Interior Minister Oliver Spasovsky, Defense Minister Slavianka Petrovska, Frontex Director Hans Lijtenz, and Head of Mission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. European Union (EU) to Scooby David Gere, MEP, Lena Dupont and other guests attended.
Speaking at the ceremony, Kovaczewski and Gere stressed the importance of joint operations in combating irregular migration.
Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs at the European Union Commission, also gave a speech by phone.
North Macedonia’s Interior Minister Spasovski and Frontex Director Legtins held a joint press conference after the ceremony.
Spasovsky stated that today’s activity is of particular importance both for the ministry he heads and for all the citizens of North Macedonia, adding that global challenges can only be addressed through a joint approach.
Expressing that Frontex will also provide patrol vehicles and equipment, apart from police officers, Spasovsky said: “Through this joint activity that we are doing with Frontex today, we are sending an important message that we are not alone in the fight against illegal immigration.” He said.
Spasovsky said, “Increasing cooperation with the European Union and realizing the priorities of the European agenda provides tangible gains for our citizens. Our joint work in combating illegal immigration and cross-border crimes will inevitably ensure security for both North Macedonian and EU citizens.” He said.
“We will deploy 111 permanent officers each month as part of the operation.”
Frontex Director Lijtens noted that the operation underlined the increased cooperation between the EU and North Macedonia.
Expressing that the operation aims to control migrant movements and combat cross-border crime, Lijtens stressed that Frontex officers will comply with North Macedonian laws, international law and EU laws.
Noting that the aforementioned process will continue until January 24, 2024, Lijtens said that there is also a possibility to extend the process.
Indicating that all activities will be carried out in cooperation with local officials, Lijtenz said, “We will assign 111 permanent officers every month as part of the operation in North Macedonia. Let’s make this clear. The civil servants who will work in North Macedonia will be under the control of the North Macedonian authorities.” He said.
North Macedonia signed the Frontex agreement in October 2022.
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