EU Agrees on New Border and Coast Guard Agency to Stop Influx of Migrants
If approved, a new agency will regularly monitor external borders of the EU and provide supplementary border guards to aid individual nations when needed.
The European Union agreed on June 22 to create a new border and coast guard agency to reduce the influx of migrants. The new enforcements are an upgrade from the previous Frontex border management agency, and will be in effect starting this summer.
The agency will set up a reserve pool of guards and equipment. Member states will manage their own security, but at least 1,500 border guards could be deployed by the agency in rapid border interventions within days.
“The agreement on the creation of a European Border and Coast Guard shows that Europe is able to act swiftly and resolutely to deal with common challenges,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“As of now, Europe treats the protection of its borders as a common mission of solidarity,” he added.
EU officials say the reinforcements will provide the missing link to strengthen its borders so that its citizens can continue to live and move freely within the European Union. Member states hope the agency will boost security in the Schengen area, where a passport is not required to travel, as well as easing the influx of migrants into Europe.
About 1.5 million individuals crossed the EU external borders illegally between January and November 2015–an all time high, according to officials.
The agency will include a European Return Office, which will deploy intervention teams composed of escorts, monitors, and return specialists, who will work to return those not admitted to the European Union legally.
Officials also say that an estimated 5,000 EU citizens traveled to conflict zones and joined terrorist groups like ISIS. When they returned, some of them were involved in recent terrorist attacks.
The reinforced agency and coast guard will identify, intervene, and address weaknesses beforehand and not after it’s too late, EU officials say.
The agency will regularly monitor external borders with periodic risk analysis and mandatory vulnerability assessments to identify and address weak spots.
“The European Border and Coast Guard Regulation will ensure that the EU external borders are safer and better managed,” said the parliament’s lead negotiator on the regulation, Artis Pabriks.
“This is not a silver bullet that can solve the migration crisis that the EU is facing today or fully restore trust in the Schengen area, but it is very much needed first step,” he added.
It is now up to the member states and the European parliament as a whole to endorse the agreement.