EU's Frontex Deploys Guard Teams Along Albania-Greece Border

Αssociated Press

FILE - EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos listens to a question during a news conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Teams of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, or Frontex, are joining Albania's police to patrol its land and sea borders for migrants and crime.

European Union Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri were in Tirana Tuesday to launch "the first ever joint operation on the territory of a neighboring non-EU country."

Avramopoulos said the agreement is "a milestone in the EU cooperation with the region."

Fifty officers, 16 patrol cars and 1 thermo-vision van from 12 EU member countries will deploy along the Albania-Greece border.

Similar agreements have been signed with North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro.

Albania hopes to launch negotiations to join the EU this year.