Sunday

21st Oct 2018

EU border agency starts sea patrols

  • Boats transporting illegal immigrants are getting bigger, says Frontex (Photo: AFM)

The EU's border control agency – Frontex - is for the first time launching its own network of sea patrols to combat illegal immigration, saying its focus will be on the Spanish Canary Islands which alone saw at least 30,000 immigrants arriving by sea last year.

The creation of the European Patrols Network, a move decided by EU member states in December 2006 to reinforce the bloc's immigration policy, is the first attempt to jointly implement a system of monitoring the sea borders of the 27-member Union.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Daily patrolling operations of neighbouring states [to the EU] will be planned and executed in a synchronised way," Ilkka Laitinen, the head of the Warsaw-based agency said, according to Reuters.

He did not say how many patrols would be launched, but indicated the Canaries would be one of the priorities. The agency has previously helped organise joint EU patrols in the region.

Malta and Italy are facing similar problems with illegal immigrants arriving by sea from Africa – a dangerous trip that has claimed thousands of lives according to NGOs.

The patrols will be coordinated and implemented by the different countries with Frontex. "This will allow avoiding overlapping of patrols and the effective sharing of operational information," it said in a statement.

Patrols launched by Portugal and Spain will coordinate activities south of the Iberian peninsula, while Italy will work with Slovenia in the north Adriatic Sea, and with France in the northern Mediterranean.

"There is a huge task to accomplish to bring the national authorities together," said Mr Laitinen, according to AFP.

The EU has to better coordinate its efforts against illegal immigration, as organised crime rings are becoming more and more sophisticated and methodical in the way they smuggle people into Europe, the border agency said.

"Bigger cargo vessels, designed deliberately to transport illegal immigrants overseas, may use the route, which has become global," Mr Laitinen said.

The EU also decided last month to launch a rapidly deployable force of about 450 border guards to help states such as Spain cope with sudden influxes of illegal migrants. It should be fully operational by the end of the year.

Russian activist warns on 'fake news' as EU backs action

In 2015, internet activist Lyudmila Savchuk went under cover to expose a troll factory in St Petersburg. As the EU summit endorses anti-disinformation action, she told EUobserver the Russian government is bankrolling many more.

EU passport sales create 'proud Maltese citizens'

Malta says its 'Golden Visas' scheme attracts families that want to become "proud Maltese citizens". Meanwhile the sales to Russian nationals, and others, have generated over €700m in revenue.

Dutch refuse Polish arrest warrant over judicial fears

A court in Amsterdam has questioned the independence of the Polish judiciary - turning down a Polish request for a European arrest warrant over fears that the suspect would not a get a fair trial in Poland.

News in Brief

  1. Germany leads EU criticism of Saudi Arabia
  2. Huge pro-EU march takes place in London
  3. Macedonia MPs back name deal in initial vote
  4. EU to open trade talks with US on beef
  5. EU court orders Poland to suspend firing judges
  6. Japan to focus on circular economy at G20
  7. Italian budget 'significant deviation' from rules, says EU
  8. Podemos initiates debate on legalising marijuana in Spain

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. What Italy's budget row is actually about
  2. EU preparing 'concentration camps' for migrants in Africa
  3. Poland to respect EU injunction on judicial purge
  4. EU votes on Facebook and plastic This WEEK
  5. Top EU banks guilty of multi-billion tax fraud
  6. Polish left a glimmer of hope in fight against illiberal democracy
  7. Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times
  8. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us