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.
MEPs of the Civil Liberties Committee will monitor and report in the coming months on the situation of rule of law in the EU, with a specific focus on corruption and freedom of the press.
The Committee has set up a Rule of Law monitoring group (ROLMG), chaired by Sophia in ‘t Veld (ALDE, NL), which will build on the two ad hoc EP visits to Malta (December 2017) and Slovakia (March 2018) following the murders of the Maltese blogger and journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and the Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée.
MEPs will also follow up of the conclusions and recommendations adopted by plenary in its resolutions on Malta (15 November 2017) and Slovakia (19 April 2018).
The European Parliament is concerned about the lack of progress in both murder investigations, repeated claims of harassment and intimidation of journalists and persistent allegations of corruption and fraud. The aim of the new monitoring group is to give full support to all efforts to seek justice and make sure the rule of law prevails.
The group’s mandate, until 31 December, foresees the possibility of hearings, meetings, fact finding missions, reporting back to the European Parliament and the adoption of a final resolution.
The group will be chaired by Sophia in ‘t Veld (ALDE, NL). Other members will be Roberta Metsola (EPP, MT), Josef Weidenholzer (S&D, AT), Judith Sargentini (Greens, NL), Laura Ferrara (EFDD, IT), and Auke Zijlstra (ENF, NL). The representatives of ECR and GUE have not been appointed yet.
Roberta METSOLA MEP (EPP, Malta) shares her views on freedom of press in the EU in framework of the relevant debate during Strasbourg April Plenary session. MEPs express their concern with assassinations of investigation journalists in Europe, and demand governments for better protection of whistleblowers. They also insist on independent investigation, including recent case of murder of Slovak Jan Kuciak, and his fiancée Martina Kusnirovà. The resolution to be voted on Thursday, April 19.