At the meeting of Inside Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) with his counterpart Sergej Sekulovic, the Minister agreed that Austria would send eight police officers and four drones to Montenegro.
On Wednesday, Montenegro was the third country on the second visit to the Western Balkans this year by Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP). He met his counterpart Sergej Sekulovic for a work meeting in the capital Podgorica. It was agreed there that Austria would send eight police officers and four drones to Montenegro on the border with Albania, the ministers said in a statement. One of the tugboat routes in the Balkans runs along this border.
Austrian police officers are to be deployed in 2021
According to Nehammer, the bilateral operation is particularly important because there is no Frontex mandate in the region and therefore no use of the EU border protection agency is possible. The local police officers are to be dispatched to Montenegro in 2021. Four of the officers will be specially trained drone operators, announced the interior minister. The commitment of the Austrian police officers “will improve security at our borders,” said Sekulovic, thanking his counterpart. “Austria is a very reliable partner for the entire region,” emphasized the Montenegrin interior minister.
Police on duty for border protection
“The use of the police in Montenegro also protects the Austrian border”, Nehammer was convinced. The main topic of the previous meeting was the migration situation. The ministers agreed that this is a common challenge and that cooperation is important. In the Western Balkans, there is potential for expansion in terms of personnel technical resources, and Austria wants to support this as well.
“Return plan” for migrants is a topic again
In addition, the so-called “return plan” for migrants who are not likely to remain in their countries of origin was also an issue. Nehammer once again positioned himself as a hardliner on the migration issue, having already emphasized several times that people returning to die before the gates of the EU would send “the right signals” to those countries of origin. An agreement was reached with Bosnia in the Interior Minister’s first visit to the Western Balkans in April. The Bosnian authorities are currently exploring which people are eligible for returns. The “Platform against illegal migration”, which was founded in Vienna last year, is coordinated. Montenegro does not currently have return agreements, but is making efforts to do so.
160 asylum applications filed in Montenegro
In Montenegro itself, around 160 asylum applications had been submitted by mid-July this year. Most of the refugees come from Afghanistan, Morocco and Iran. At the same time, the authorities in Montenegro apprehended almost 1,600 migrants. At the press conference, Sekulovic emphasized that his country is rejecting the majority of the migrants who enter the country. After Kosovo and Albania, Montenegro was the last country on Nehammer’s trip to the Western Balkans. At the end of the two-day trip, the Minister of the Interior said it had once again been shown how important personal exchange with the ministers of the Balkan countries is.