Members of European Parliament have approved the proposal to assign to the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027 to strengthen the security in Mediterranean.
Europe’s external borders have seen an unprecedented rise in the numbers of illegal migrants and refugees wishing to enter the EU in recent years. The plans,adopted by MEPs during April Plenary will see the EU agency equipped with a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027. The standing corps will consist of staff members employed by the agency as well as staff seconded on a mandatory basis by EU countries.
“You have to be fair with those who deserve protection, harsh with those prey on the vulnerable and firm with those who seek to break the rules” the rapporteur Roberta Metsola (pictured above), the rapporteur said.
The critics of the measure say the measure is superficial and does not address the problem of the illegal migration in a meaningful way. Often articulated promises to apply different approach to people who have right for asylum, and those who don’t are largely exclusionary, because it is impossible to trace their identities in principle.
African population is largely following verbal traditions, and has no custom to issue documents at birth. According World Bank 500 million Africans have no birth certificate and have no information on date of their birth, including day, month, year. This phenomena became notorious in Europe, when young men were successfully claiming to be minors, but there were no legal mechanism to establish their age. Subsequently in absence of population register in Sub–Saharan Africa the promises to make difference between different categories of illegal migrants crossing Mediterranean, are totally illusory.
The opponents of Roberta Metsola insist that at present shape the Coast Guard Agency is designed to accommodate illegal migrants plans to enter Europe safely, however it does not serve the interest of the European nations, some of which, like Italy, were overwhelmed by the influx of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.
New measures strengthening the European Border and Coast Guard to secure the EU’s borders were agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on March 28. The provisionally agreed changes to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) aim to respond to the present needs in security and migration.
A new standing corps of 10 000 staff to be set up by 2027.
“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” rapporteur Roberta Metsola (EPP, MT) said.
The negotiators agreed on setting up a new standing corps to support EU countries on the ground. The new corps could, at the request of a member state, carry out border control and return tasks as well as fight cross-border crime. It would also include a rapid reaction pool for rapid border interventions.
Starting with 5 000 operational staff in 2021, the standing corps would be fully operational by 2027 with 10 000 staff. Currently, the Agency relies solely on member states’ contributions.
The updated Agency would be able to support return procedures in member states, for example by identifying irregularly staying non-EU nationals and assisting national authorities in obtaining travel documents. The new rules would also strengthen the cooperation with the EU Asylum Agency.
EP and Council negotiators agreed that cooperation with non-EU countries needs to be strengthened. MEPs managed to introduce several safeguards to ensure respect for fundamental rights and protection of personal data is included in such cooperation.
To ensure effective scrutiny by the EP of the Agency and by the national parliaments of national authorities, the agreement introduces greater inter-parliamentary cooperation. The Agency’s management will be required also to attend joint meetings of the European and national parliaments.
European Council addressed the implementation of its approach to migration, which combines more effective control of the EU’s external borders, increased external action and the internal aspects.
European Council notes that the number of detected illegal border crossings has been brought down to pre-crisis levels, and that the overall downward trend is continuing. This is the result of the external migration policy of the Union and its Member States, based, in particular, on control of the external borders, the fight against smugglers and cooperation with countries of origin and transit, which has been intensified in recent months. This policy should therefore be continued, further developed and fully implemented.
Vigilance on all existing and emerging routes should be maintained, in particular in view of recent increases on the Western and Eastern Mediterranean Routes.
As regards the internal policies, the European Council invites the co-legislators to rapidly conclude negotiations on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG).
It welcomes the agreement reached at the level of the Council on 6 December 2018 with regard to enhancing the EBCG’s mandate in the area of return and cooperation with third countries. It also calls for further efforts to conclude negotiations on the Return Directive, on the Asylum Agency and on all parts of the Common European Asylum System, respecting previous European Council conclusions and taking into account the varying degree of progress on each of these files.
At the meeting Tallinn, Estonia, the EU interior ministers agreed to reinforce the Libyan coastguard, apply deportations of migrants, rejected the asylum status, and provide funds to African countries to defeat poverty forcing people to search better life in Europe.
EU interior ministers had also a message to NGOs actively rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean sea, to work closely with Libya’s coastguard, amid raising public concerns of their assistance, encouraging Africans to risk their life in a dangerous sea crossing.
Escaping conflicts, terrorism and poverty, the migrants continue to arrive to Italy in overwhelming numbers, causing strain on the society, hosting almost 100 000 new arrivals this year, which is reportedly 20% higher than the level of migration tight in 2016.
The European Commission fears that NGOs running rescue services off the Libyan coast are encouraging migrants to risk their lives in shabby dinghies expecting to be picked up close to Libyan coast and then ferried 200 km over the sea to Italy to stay in Europe happy ever after.
The journey is not free of charge, but a highly lucrative trade of local traffickers profiting from misery and despair.