Wednesday

17th Jul 2019

Commission proposes common border guard

  • ANTONIO VITORINO - justice and home affairs Commissioner denied on Tuesday that enlargement meant more insecurity. He argued that a large part of the pre-accession aid was used in the candidates to improve the borders' management and for the Border Guards (Photo: EU Commission)

The European Commission on Tuesday proposed common management of the EU's external borders, financed jointly by all EU states, to clamp down on terrorism and illegal immigration. The Commission's paper on the integrated management of the EU's external borders also states the long term objective to set up a European Corps of Border Guards. The Italian government will unveil on May 30 a study on the feasibility of setting up a European border control corps, tackling the political and economical aspects of this highly sensitive matter. The Commission's paper is unveiled amid debates sparked by recent success of far-right parties in Europe, who crusade against immigration and prone the closing of borders to ensure internal security.

Enlargement incentive for common border police

Security became a major subject in Europe after the 11 September terrorist attacks and with enlargement to 12 Central and Eastern European candidate countries looming. The Commission's Communication, presented on Tuesday by Commission President Romano Prodi and justice and home affairs Commissioner Antonio Vitorino, shows that enlargement to the present candidate countries is a major incentive for setting up a European Corps of Border Guards, to improve the control at the Union's external borders. "To a great extend, the future member states will be responsible for the internal security of the Union while still undergoing the process of economic and social transition," says the paper. But Commissioner Vitorino denied on Tuesday enlargement meant more insecurity, arguing that a large part of the pre-accession aid was used in the candidates to improve the borders' management and for the Border Guards training.

Prodi: burden sharing important

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Commission president Romano Prodi explained that two essential reasons make the creation of a European Corps of Border Guards necessary: some EU countries are responsible for the internal security of the Union and it is necessary, in the future, that the financial and operational burden be shared by all EU states.

Secondly, some EU member states would feel greater guarantees for their security if they can participate directly to securing the borders. "Therefore, setting up a European Corps of Border Guards must be our long term objective," said Prodi, showing that setting up an integrated management of the EU's external borders was just the first step in the right direction.

European College for Border Guards

Commissioner Vitorino explained the Commission envisaged measures of immediate application (within one year) and measures to be taken within 4 to 5 years. Among steps to be taken within one year he listed legislative measures, organisational steps (setting up a group to co-ordinate national border police action, exchange of information, and will inspect the control capacities of member states). The Commission also envisages the creation of a European College for Border Guards, at medium term. For Commissioner Vitorino, measures aiming at sharing the financial burden should be taken immediately, while those concerning the operational burden should be taken at medium-term.

Commissioner Vitorino believes the Commission's communication and the study the Italian government will release on May 30, are complementary. "They are both part of a global vision and there is no contradiction between the two," the Commissioner said.

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.

EU border control force in Norway?

Wednesday's announcement from the EU Commission that it wants a multinational police force to guard the external borders of the EU has caused concern in Norway. The long Norwegian coastline and the border to Russia are part of the EU external border because Norway is a Schengen member, although it is not in the EU, according to Norwegian paper Klassekampen. A Norwegian refusal to take part in the external border force will mean that the country will have to retire from the whole Schengen Agreement, writes Nationen.

EU border control force in Norway?

Wednesday's announcement from the EU Commission that it wants a multinational police force to guard the external borders of the EU has caused concern in Norway. The long Norwegian coastline and the border to Russia are part of the EU external border because Norway is a Schengen member, although it is not in the EU, according to Norwegian paper Klassekampen. A Norwegian refusal to take part in the external border force will mean that the country will have to retire from the whole Schengen Agreement, writes Nationen.

Scandinavian No to Schengen border police

In unison, five Scandinavian prime ministers, meeting in Molde, Norway, told the press that they were absolutely against a common Schengen police force to guard the EU outward borders, according to Hufvudstadsbladet. They also agreed to mutually respect the different situations of their respective countries in face of the EU enlargement process.

EU ministers meet in Rome to discuss Border Police

EU ministers of home affairs are set to endorse on Thursday in Rome a crucial proposal to set up an European Corps of Border Guards, despite expected resistance from some member states who believe that patrolling the borders belongs to the core national sovereignty. The 15 ministers will discuss a study made by the Italian governments, with experts from other EU countries on political and economic implications of setting up a European border control. They are expected to declare their objective of creating a European border police and to indicate the direction to go.

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