In accordance with the fundamental rights provisions contained in the statute agreements themselves, the Executive Director of the Agency may suspend or terminate acts in the State (Article 6 of any status agreement). They also describe the criminal and civil liability of the Agency and its agents for the actions taken in these states. The status agreements also grant Frontex officials immunity under the criminal jurisdiction of the host countries. Article 96 of the 2019 Frontex Regulation stipulates that legal staff are covered by Protocol 7 on EU privileges and immunities annexed to the Treaty on european Union (TUE) and the TFUE. However, the Agency found this year that Protocol 7 was not applicable, as these operations take place outside the EU. The Commission is currently considering this issue and has not responded to Statewatch`s request for comment. The Socialists and Democrats were in favour of the adoption of the agreements, although a rapporteur, Silvie Guillaume, was not present at the vote on Montenegro. The Group of the European Unitarian Left largely opposed the approval of both sides, although Spanish MEP Pernando Barena Arza did not vote on the agreement with Montenegro. In accordance with the statute provisions, the commitment of measures requires the agreement of the competent authorities of the host state and the Frontex agency, while the operational plans are under the supervision of the European Commission (Article 3, paragraph 2, Article 4, paragraph 1, and Article 11 of the Statute Agreements). With the exception of Kosovo, Frontex also intends to conduct operations in all other third countries of the Western Balkans. On 19 November 2019, the European Commission and the Belgrade government signed a status agreement with Serbia. After approval by the Council of the European Union on 26 May 2020, implementation is “in preparation,” according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The status agreement with Northern Macedonia has been negotiated but has not yet been signed.
Negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue. Only the agreement with Montenegro obliges members of Frontex teams to testify as witnesses in criminal proceedings. Other statute agreements state that “team members are not required to testify.” The negotiations with Serbia were followed by a standard operational cooperation agreement with the `priority third countries` approved by the Commission under the `European Migration Programme`.