The European Parliament and Council have agreed on measures to address EU border security issues and respond to Member States’ migration needs.
Under the measures provisionally agreed by negotiators from the Parliament and Council today, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will receive a new standing corps, set to grow from 5,000 operational staff in 2021 to 10,000 staff by 2027; to support Member States “on the ground”. Border authorities in Member States will be able to request assistance from the corps, which will be authorised to enact tasks pertaining to border control and the returning to their home states of irregular migrants; as well as comprising a pool of “rapid reaction” staff trained to respond to immediate border emergencies.
Agency employees will be able to operate alongside national authorities and provide additional assistance in implementing return procedures, for example by identifying non-EU nationals who have arrived irregularly and facilitating the procurement of necessary travel documents. The corps will cooperate closely with the EU Asylum Agency. Negotiators noted that the EU as a whole needed to coordinate more effectively with non-EU nations, within the confines of safeguards to citizens’ fundamental rights and personal data protection.
Rapporteur Roberta Metsola said: “The European Border and Coast Guard law will overhaul Europe’s border management. It will mean an additional 10,000 border and coast guards for Europe; more efficient returns; more tools to fight crime and will serve to allay security and crime concerns and aid in our migration strategy. Europe’s citizens were looking to us to deliver and we have, in record time. This is a win for Europe.”
The agency’s management will be required to attend joint meetings held by the European Parliament and the parliaments of Member States, which will work collaboratively to oversee the deployment of EU border security. The agreed ruled will come into force after they have received final approval by the Civil Liberties Committee and the European Parliament and Council.