The European Border and Coast Guard Agency was officially opened this week. This authority will monitor the external borders of the European Union and cooperate with member states to prevent possible threats.
The opening ceremony took place Thursday, 6 October near Kapitan Andreevo Border Checkpoint on Bulgaria’s border with Turkey. The ceremony also included the presentation of vehicles, equipment and members of the agency, as reported by European Commission’s office in Latvia.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: «Today is a milestone in the history of European border management. From now onwards, the external EU border of one Member State is the external border of all Member States – both legally and operationally. In less than one year we have established a fully-fledged European Border and Coast Guard system, turning into reality the principles of shared responsibility and solidarity among the Member States and the Union. This is exactly the European response that we need for the security and migration challenges of the 21st century.»
«By launching the European Border and Coast Guard, we are creating a new reality at our external borders. This is a tangible outcome of the joint commitment agreed in the Bratislava Roadmap, as well as a practical display of unity among Member States. It will help us to get back to Schengen. The Presidency is determined to help further strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard, as well as translate other commitments from the Roadmap into action,» – added Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico, holder of the rotating Presidency of the Council.
Fabrice Leggeri Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency said: «This is a historic moment and I am very proud to see Frontex become the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. The new Agency is stronger and better equipped to tackle migration and security challenges at Europe’s external borders. Its mandate has wider scope and new powers that will allow it to act effectively. The Agency will conduct stress tests at the external borders to identify vulnerabilities before a crisis hits. It will now also be able to offer operational support to neighbouring non-EU countries who ask for assistance at their border and share intelligence on cross-border criminal activities with national authorities and European agencies in support of criminal investigations. It also has a key role at Europe’s maritime borders through its new coast guard functions.»
The number of constant member of the agency will be twice as large. In addition, the agency will be able to procure its own equipment and organize operations on the borders. The agency will be provided with rapid response force of at least 1,500 border guards so the agency does not suffer shortage of personnel.
European Border and Coast Guard Agency will perform standard management of EU borders and periodically perform risk assessments.