The European Union will create a larger, streamlined, obligatory “pool policing” force to guard its borders after its parliament approved the new agency on Wednesday.
The European Border and Coast Guard Agency will add 1,500 guards to be deployed on a situational basis to “support, monitor and, when necessary, reinforce the national border guards, focusing primarily on early detection and prevention of weaknesses in the management of the external borders,” said a statement from European Parliament on Wednesday.
The agency, proposed in Dec. 2015 after the Commission proposed it to deal with the surge in refugee arrivals, will constitute “a truly collective European management of our borders, based on the principle that security of our common EU external borders is a responsibility shared amongst all EU countries,” the statement said. “The external border of one Member State is the external border of all Member States.”
Parliament had concerns about the agency’s ability to bypass a member state’s consent in order to intervene, but recent terrorist attacks and Britain’s vote to leave the EU has made Brussels more weary about immigration policy.
The EU currently uses Frontex, which coordinates between national border patrols and has limited jurisdiction, and which has “already started intensive preparations for its (the new agency’s) implementation," said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri. The new agency would play a larger role than Frontex in returning migrants and refugees to their home countries and would be able to overrule national border policy.
If a country refuses to accept the extra border personnel in a “crisis situation,” the text says that the European Council can vote to still deploy the force and individual states can reintroduce internal border checks.
“This is not a silver bullet that can solve the migration crisis that the EU is facing today or fully restore trust in the Schengen (passport-free) area, but it is a very much needed first step,” said parliamentarian Artis Pabriks.
The new agency will enter into force once the European Council approves the revised text, as soon as this fall.