Monday

21st May 2018

EU agrees new border guard agency

  • Frontex is set to become bigger and much more powerful (Photo: Frontex)

The EU on Tuesday (21 June) reached a political agreement on a new EU border and coast agency but removed a controversial "right to intervene" feature.

The plan, first floated by the European Commission in December, would have allowed the new agency to deploy guards to an EU state without its consent.

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 latest iteration, hammered out late Tuesday evening between the EU institutions, now only allows EU states to impose internal border checks in the Schengen free travel area as a last resort.

The move signals broader fears over uncontrolled migration should an EU state fail to contain a sudden mass influx of people and then refuse help from the new border agency.

"As of now, Europe treats the protection of its borders as a common mission of solidarity," said European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in a statement.

The new system and agency was proposed after over 1 million people entered the EU last year, mostly through Greece, to seek international protection.

After six months of talks, the EU institutions reached a political agreement that will entitle member states, among other things, to temporarily shelve passport-free Schengen borders if another member state refuses to let border guards come in.

Such a move can only be triggered on an EU commission recommendation that says the Schengen area is under an existential threat. It then has to be voted through the Council, representing member states.

The European Parliament civil liberties (Libe) had opposed the internal control measures in May but negotiators capitulated following last minute talks on Tuesday.

The weakened clause is part of a new EU regulation to set up an EU border and coast guard agency that will replace the much weaker Warsaw-based Frontex.

The proposal will now go back to the Libe committee next week before a plenary session vote in early July in Strasbourg.

1,500 border guards

The new agency, which is formally a legal extension of Frontex, will have a pool of 1,500 guards at its disposal, and will remain based in Warsaw.

The plan is to have it operational by the end of summer or the start of autumn.

"This is not a silver bullet that can solve the current migration crisis or restore the Schengen area overnight, but it is a very much-needed first step," said the EU parliament's lead negotiator on the file, centre-right Latvian MEP Artis Pabriks.

Each EU state will have to contribute a set number of guards to reach the 1,500 target.

An annex in the regulation, once published, will outline exactly how many each EU state has to contribute.

Governments will also have to provide technical equipment and pay idle guards. But once deployed, the agency will pick up the border guard tab.

The EU commission had also wanted to empower the new agency with booting out rejected migrants in non-EU countries.

But the idea was rejected by the EU parliament and is no longer part of the final plan.

Instead, the agency will only be able to send people packing once confirmed by EU state national authorities.

New EU border agency to 'stress test' member states

Frontex, the EU border agency, is set to morph in a much more powerful European border and coast guard agency. EU states are set to come under its scrutiny before the end of the year.

Balkan leaders pledge to keep out migrants

Balkan leaders said in New York there would be no repetition of last year's mass influx of refugees, as the EU prepares to launch a new border force to keep people out.

Opinion

Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny

Most refugee-related services are outsourced to the private sector and NGOs, which are not adequately monitored and evaluated. When governments and EU institutions provide funding for refugee projects, they should scrutinise the NGOs and private players they work with.

Opinion

Calling time on European-Turkish strategic relations

With an Erdogan-Putin summit on Tuesday, joined by Iran on Wednesday, it is time for Europe to face facts - Turkey's ties with the West are no longer strategic. When Europe goes hither, Turkey deliberately goes thither.

News in Brief

  1. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'
  2. Only Estonia, Greece and UK hit Nato spending target
  3. EU to start process to counter US Iran sanctions
  4. Macedonia PM sees 'possible solutions' in Greek name row
  5. EU takes six countries to court over air pollution
  6. New Catalan leader sworn in without reference to Spain
  7. Merkel and Putin revive dialogue in troubled times
  8. European companies putting Iran business on hold

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  2. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  3. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  4. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline
  5. Italian populists to defy EU debt rules
  6. Commission 'playing tricks' with EU budget figures
  7. How France escaped EU legal action over chemical ban
  8. 'Connectivity' trumps enlargement at Balkans summit