Friday

20th Apr 2018

EU states should control new border force, MEPs say

  • The new EU border guard is set to be operational by the summer (Photo: Frontex)

Deployment of the EU's new border force should be controlled by member states, not by the European Commission, an MEP's report discussed in parliament on Monday (11 April) has concluded.

Artis Pabriks, rapporteur on the European Border and Coast Guard proposal, said in his report that the right to intervene should be decided by the Council, which represents member states, “to further emphasise the sovereignty”.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The European Commission had initially proposed last December that it should control interventions by the new border force.

EU leaders hope that the new border force will be operational by the summer, and will eventually replace the current Warsaw-based border agency, Frontex.

It would have the right to intervene in emergencies if a member state persistently failed to protect the bloc’s external boundaries, if national action is lacking and if there is a threat to the Schengen area as a whole.

In a controversial aspect of the proposal, the border force could also be deployed even if the member state concerned rejected intervention.

Pabriks, a Latvian centre-right MEP, sided with member states in his draft report.

“Given the sensitivity of the matter, which is clearly linked to the sovereignty of the EU member states, it should be the council and not the commission which takes such a decision,” his report said.

If the member state does not comply with the council’s decision, reintroducing border controls in neighbouring member states “might be necessary” to protect the Schengen area.

The draft report says: “The Council may as a last resort, to protect the common interests within the area without internal border control and taking into account the principles of proportionality and necessity, recommend that one or more member states decide to reintroduce border control at all or specific parts of their internal borders for a period of up to six months.”

That period may be extended no more than three times.

MEPs in the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee generally welcomed his ideas, but emphasised the need for clear areas of responsibility and accountability between the new EU border agency and the member state concerned when European border guards “intervene”.

Peter Niedermuller, the shadow rapporteur for the socialist group in the EU assembly, said: “Liability and accountability for the action of the agency together with member state are blurred in many areas, like the cases of return, fundamental rights, data protection, relation with third countries.”

“Further clarification is needed,” he added, saying the commission's proposal is not at all clear on who is responsible, for what, when and where.

Some MEPs also criticised the idea of a European “return” office within the new agency that would be tasked with sending back illegal migrants. They said the border agency’s role as guardian of the external borders should not be mixed up with asylum policy.

A vote is planned in the committee on 24 May. Negotiations among member states and the EU parliament will then begin.

New EU border force: 'right to intervene'

New EU border force, to be proposed Tuesday, would have “right to intervene” if member states fail to protect external boundaries, a draft text, seen by EUobserver, says.

Investigation

Frontex resource limitations put agency in straitjacket

The EU border agency has the potential to police Europe's borders, save lives and reduce human trafficking, but lack of means and political will reduces it to a resource-poor coordinating agency, says a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

MEPs question EU border guard proposal

Leftist and Green MEPs criticise proposals that would allow EU border guards greater powers to intervene in member states, questioning legal responsibility for rights violations.

Feature

'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole

Project Safte, an international research project funded by the European Commission, has revealed a loophole in the EU firearms directive that is being exploited by criminals and possibly terrorists.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  2. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  3. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  4. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  5. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  6. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  7. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit
  8. Merkel and Macron meet to finetune eurozone reform plans

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeParabéNs! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  2. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  3. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  4. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  5. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  6. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  10. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector

Latest News

  1. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  2. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  3. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  4. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists
  5. Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study
  6. Selmayr case scars Parliament and Commission
  7. Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties
  8. 'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole