Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Eleftherios Oikonomou and Deputy Minister of Interior of Albania in charge of border management Julian Hodaj signed on Monday the establishment of a Kakavia-based Contact Center for Police and Customs Cooperation between Greece and Albania.
The signing of the Agreement was also attended by Romina Kuko, Deputy Minister of Interior of Albania responsible for the fight against human trafficking.
Eleftherios Oikonomou described the meeting as of special importance, stating that it contributes to the confirmation of the good relations between the two countries and the strengthening of the already existing cooperation.
This constitutes the third Contact Center following the bilateral agreement with Bulgaria at the Serres Bastion and the tripartite agreement with Bulgaria and Turkey at the border point of Kapitan Andreevo.
Greek Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Eleftherios Oikonomou stressed inter alia that this represents an important development, as it concerns a permanent structure that operates at the border and contributes significantly to cooperation between the two countries, as well as in the exchange of information and at an operational level.
The Greek official stressed that the Agreement “contributes on the one hand to the confirmation of the good relations between the two countries, and on the other hand to the strengthening of our already existing cooperation, with the aim of jointly finding ways to address and combat modern challenges and security threats to our countries.”
In his speech, Hodaj said that this Center will create the conditions for them to closely monitor the situation on the Greek-Albanian border and to be updated about problems related to the pandemic in the current situation.
It is noted that the Contact Center is housed in a building on Greek territory, in the area of the border crossing point in Kakavia, and will be staffed by police and customs staff of the two countries who will work in a single space.
The main purpose of the Center is the exchange of information between the competent law enforcement authorities at regional level, and the practical upgrading of border cooperation in the control of cross-border organized crime and illegal immigration.
The exchange of information through the Center mainly concerns illegal immigration, human trafficking, violent extremism, falsification of travel documents, illicit drugs, firearms and ammunition trafficking, as well as violations related to the Customs Code.
During the signing of the Agreement, the Greek Deputy Minister had the opportunity to talk with his two counterparts from Albania on issues related to strengthening cooperation in the field of addressing cross-border organized crime and the fight against human trafficking.
In addition, they discussed and exchanged views on issues of an educational nature, in particular regarding the strengthening of cooperation in the field of education, the transfer of know-how and the possibility of student exchanges in the context of educational programs in the police academies of the two countries.
Bilateral cooperation through the Center will be in line with the national legislation of both countries and will focus mainly on joint assessment and analysis, in order to conduct risk analysis as well as assistance and coordination of activities.
The establishment of this center offers a qualitative leap in the police and border cooperation between the two countries, thus creating an exceptional facility in the communication channels of the area. /ibna