OSCE Presence visits border crossing points in Albania to assess situation amid COVID-19

The OSCE Presence in Albania visited the border crossing points of Kapshtica and Kakavija to assess the overall situation, as well as measures taken in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kapshtica and Kakavija are two of the main crossing points serving repatriation of citizens in the current situation. Extensive meetings were held with the regional border and migration directors and station commanders. The Presence also visited designated hotels where repatriated citizens are quarantined.

The purpose of the meetings was to get an overview on the general situation at the border crossing points, assess how border police officials are coping with the pandemic, challenges they are facing, as well as their needs. Discussions also focused on co-operation with the local government and with other law enforcement agencies operating at the border, such as customs, to facilitate the processing of trucks.

The regional directors informed the Presence of the current and expected challenges for border agencies, especially after the opening of the borders. They also expressed concern about the revival of irregular migration.

Regional co-operation becomes of paramount importance in times of crisis and the directors of the two border crossing points reaffirmed the very good relations with the neighbouring countries in fighting illegal activities and exchanging information.

The Presence will conduct similar visits to other border crossing points in Albania in the coming weeks.

Following the breakout of the pandemic in Albania, the OSCE Presence has been preparing to assist the Albanian State Police – particularly the Border and Migration Police – with personal protective equipment.

The OSCE Presence in Albania has a long-standing co-operation with Albania’s Border and Migration Police, and works with them to establish joint protocols, and police co-operation centres. It also offers capacity-building for a better control of Albania’s borders against criminal activities such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, irregular migration, and foreign terrorists fighters.