Saturday

24th Jul 2021

France wants to create new EU migration post

  • Frontex says it needs more money in order to get the new programme up and running (Photo: Frontex)

France wants a new European coordinator to ensure member states follow through more rapidly on their asylum and border control commitments.

A French official close to the issue said the coordinator is needed because the EU’s home affairs portfolio, currently headed by Cecilia Malmstrom, is too broad.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The proposal follows incoming EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s announcement over the summer that he would create a new commissioner post with “special responsibility for migration”.

Juncker is expected to announce the commission portfolios and how he intends to organise the work of the next European Commission next week.

The coordinator post is part of a larger French-led EU plan on immigration briefly outlined by French interior minister Bernad Cazeneuve in Brussels on Monday (1 September).

Cazeneuve, speaking alongside Malmstrom, told reporters member states need to regain control of the EU’s external borders, better implement asylum procedures, and step up efforts to dismantle human smuggling networks.

“We need in each of our member states a strategy in order to welcome those who must be granted asylum.”

Before his stop in Brussels, the French politician visited Rome, London, Barcelona and Berlin to shore up support. Paris has indicated that Italy, Spain, the UK and Germany broadly back the plan.

Cazeneuve's meeting with Malmstrom did not touch upon the coordinator post, according to sources familiar with the discussion.

The French strategy includes reinforcing the borders of the Union, setting up better administrative treatment for asylum seekers, dispersing asylum seekers more broadly across hosting member states, and creating a more efficient return policy.

The idea is also to make sure people arriving in the EU seeking asylum are properly identified from the start. With some 100,000 people having crossed the Mediterranean to reach the Europe since the beginning of the year, the proposal also involves reaching out to transit countries like Egypt and Tunisia to better contain the flows.

The French proposed their plan, in part, because of the rise of migrant numbers crossing into the EU via the Mediterranean and its own internal issues dealing with camps of stranded refugees in the port city of Calais.

Paris also wants member states to commit assets to Frontex plus, an EU-coordinated migration operation in the Mediterranean set for launch in November. Member states are expected to contribute air and maritime assets.

“We already heard from France and other countries they are willing to contribute but for the moment we have no specific details we can give,” said Malmstrom’s spokesperson.

Frontex plus set to be renamed Operation Triton

Triton, the mythological Greek god and messenger of the sea, has been proposed as a new name to replace Frontex plus.

To get it up and running, the Warsaw-based EU border agency, says it needs more money on top of its annual €89.1 million budget (a €4.8 million decrease compared to 2013).

The agency is finalising discussions Italy, which has been running its owns humanitarian programme to deal with the 1000s of migrants coming to its shores, on what is needed to launch the EU operation.

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

Romania denies forcing migrant-boat back to Turkish waters

Romania's ministry of internal affairs wrote to Frontex claiming it did not engage in any illegal pushbacks of people on rubber boats into Turkish territorial waters. The country says it followed EU engagement rules and Greek orders.

News in Brief

  1. Macron changes phone after Pegasus spyware revelations
  2. Italy to impose 'vaccinated-only' entry on indoor entertainment
  3. EU 'will not renegotiate' Irish protocol
  4. Brussels migrants end hunger strike
  5. Elderly EU nationals in UK-status limbo after missed deadline
  6. WHO: 11bn doses needed to reach global vaccination target
  7. EU to share 200m Covid vaccine doses by end of 2021
  8. Spain ends outdoor mask-wearing despite surge

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Far left and right MEPs less critical of China and Russia
  2. Why is offshore wind the 'Cinderella' of EU climate policy?
  3. Open letter from 30 embassies ahead of Budapest Pride
  4. Orbán counters EU by calling referendum on anti-LGBTI law
  5. Why aren't EU's CSDP missions working?
  6. Romania most keen to join eurozone
  7. Slovenia risks court over EU anti-graft office
  8. Sweden's gang and gun violence sets politicians bickering

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us