Tackling the Migrant Crisis in the Republic of North Macedonia

This policy analysis is an overview of North Macedonia’s efforts and of its cooperation with Frontex and EU Member States in countering illegal migration as of the migrant/refugee crisis in 2015. It elaborates the context of the issue, the legal framework and the contents of documents relevant to the Republic of North Macedonia, Frontex and EU Member States. The analysis has the following structure: an introduction, the cooperation between Republic of North Macedonia and Frontex, the Macedonian response to the migrant crisis and concluding remarks. The key takeaways from this research are as follows: The migrant/refugee crisis in 2015 could not have been dealt with actions taken solely by one country; instead the cooperation of Frontex, EU Member States and Western Balkan countries was crucial in applying a systematic approach in managing the flows of migrants along the Western Balkan Route. The achieved level of control of EU’s external borders was supported by substantive financial and technical resources provided by the EU, its agencies and EU Member States. The processes undertaken in North Macedonia seemed to be lacking transparency. The country was flexible in implementing measures related to border control, especially when relevant national authorities invited (EU) foreign police officers (border guards) to help manage the high influx of migrants/refugees at the country’s borders. The exact number of foreign police officers is unknown due to lack of information on the official website of the Ministry of the Interior. North Macedonia has harmonized the relevant legal framework and has adopted and implemented national documents. The capacities of relevant authorities have been strengthened with various EU and EU Member States funded actions; in addition, an Agreement of Cooperation between Frontex and North Macedonia was initialled. It is yet to be seen how this Agreement will be implemented as soon as it will have been ratified by the Macedonian Assembly.

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