On Monday, 30 May, European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs supported the creation of a system to manage European Union’s border security. The new European Border and Coast Guard Agency will be its centre. This agency will include the duties currently performed by Frontex and EU Border Guard.
Institutions of member states will remain responsible for keeping their borders safe. In crisis situations, they will be able to ask for assistance from the new agency, as confirmed by EP press-secretary in Latvia Signe Znotina-Znota.
«It will enhance security of Europe’s external borders and control over them. This is why it is important to form Europe’s Border and Coast Guard as soon as possible. It will not be a magic wand that will effortlessly resolve the migration crisis. It will serve as the first step that will help enhance other regulations to help resolve the migration crisis and save the Schengen Area. We have to show Europeans that the EU is united and is capable of making decisions and working effectively,» – said MEP from Latvia Artis Pabriks.
MEPs amended European Commission’s initial proposal to enhance the agency’s efficiency when combating problems related to EU border control. Changes requested by MEPs include the increase of transparency and democratic compliance with guidelines set by the European Parliament.
The most important proposal expressed by EP applies to decision-making processes – deputies believe that the decision about the involvement of the new service in matters of member states should be made by the EU Council, not the EU Commission.
If member states face increased pressure on their external borders, disproportionate migration or cross-border crime, for example, the EU Council will be able to made decisions about short-term involvement of rapid response border guard units following a request from member states.
If a member state does not carry out proposals provided by the European Border and Coast Guard or of the migration pressure threatens the function of the Schengen Area, the European Commission will be able to submit a request to the EU Council to act without waiting for a request from the member state.
MEPs also agreed to expand the agency’s influence, allowing it to realize return operations (returning illegal third country citizens back to their home country). The agency will also provide operative and technical support. Decision regarding the agency’s involvement will be made by member states. MEPs also note that, in accordance with the principle of non-extradition, the EU Border and Coast Guard would not carry out illegal migrant return operations to countries in which there is a risk of violation of fundamental human rights.