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After seven years of bilateral assistance to North Macedonia in the management of irregular migration, the final, 74th group of Slovenian police officers stopped performing tasks and duties on the border between North Macedonia and Greece on 19 April 2023.

In late February, North Macedonia concluded an agreement with Frontex, which is now going to provide standing corps officers. Slovenia has already seconded two officers, who started assisting in protection of the green border under Frontex in Bogorodica on 20th April.

Frontex joint operation

Beginnings of the bilateral cooperation

The cooperation between Slovenia and Macedonia began following the Macedonian Minister of the Interior Oliver Spasovski's request for assistance of 9th December 2015, which received a green light from the Slovenian Ministry of the Interior and Slovenian police. The Protocol between the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia, Police, and the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Macedonia, Public Security Bureau, on joint patrols on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia in the framework of joint operation was signed soon after, on 4 January 2016 in Skopje and 5 January 2016 in Ljubljana.

The first team of six officers was deployed to Macedonia for a one-month term on 5 February 2016. The bilateral cooperation ended on 19 April 2023, with the final, 74th team of deployed Slovenian officers.

Locations of deployment of Slovenian officers

Throughout the years, Slovenian police seconded 74 teams of officers or a total of 458 officers to the territory of former Macedonia, now North Macedonia, in the framework of the cooperation. They were performing police tasks and duties at the Bogorodica border police station as well as the area surrounding the Bogorodica border crossing point. They occasionally assisted in the Temporary Transition Centre Gevgelija, where migrants are registered and at the Medžitija border police station and the area surrounding the Medžitija border crossing point as well as police stations Star Dorjan and Novo Selo.

Transfer of operational activities to Frontex

Slovenia was one of the first countries to deploy officers in North Macedonia and the bilateral cooperation has concluded thanks to the Agreement between the Republic of North Macedonia and the European Union, which foresees the transfer of operational activities to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).

In late February 2023, North Macedonia and Frontex signed a status agreement, which entered into force in April. The status agreement grants guest officers full powers in the time of performance of police duties under Frontex, terminating the bilateral assistance previously provided to North Macedonia by several countries (including Slovenia). In the framework of the now installed cooperation, Frontex's European border guards have been deployed on the border between North Macedonia and Greece as of 19 April 2023.

Slovenian police have seconded two offices in the framework of the Frontex joint operation with North Macedonia. They will be carrying out duties in the area of Mihajlovo (protection of the green border). Three long-term seconded Slovenian officers will also be performing tasks and duties on the North Macedonia-Greece border (Bogorodica).

As the bilateral cooperation between the countries draws to a close, the leadership of Slovenian police would like to thank sincerely all the officers and others who co-participated in the project for their contribution and valuable assistance. This very assistance paved the way for the successful deployment of such high number of teams of officers. The Minister of Interior of North Macedonia Oliver Spasovski also expressed his gratitude for the now concluded cooperation in his recent letter to his Slovenian counterpart Minister Boštjan Poklukar.