A new regulation that intends to strengthen the mandate of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) by further supplying it with staff establishing a border force of 10,000 guards, has come into force today, December 4, 2019.
According to the Executive Director of the agency, with the new border force FRONTEX with be a daily partner to national authorities.
“With our own standing corps and own equipment, FRONTEX will be a daily partner for national authorities to design sustainable border management capacities rather than simply responding in a crisis management mode. Our operational aim is to have well-functioning external borders ensuring trust in our European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice,” Leggeri said.
A press release by FRONTEX says the new border guards will be a crucial part in the effort to better integrate the European Border and Coast Guard which consists of national border and coast guard authorities and FRONTEX.
It also claims it will help strengthen Europe’s ability to respond at its borders by sharing relevant information and regular risk analyses, in addition to the assistance provided to EU countries in predicting challenges at their borders.
“FRONTEX will be able to provide a variety of operational services to EU and Schengen countries, from border surveillance and border control to return, including supporting the reintegration of returnees in non-EU countries. The Agency will continue to strengthen its role in fighting cross-border crime, including in the maritime domain,” a press release by FRONTEX says, adding that the agency will play a bigger role in the management of the growing flows of legitimate travelers across EU’s external borders, hosting the future central unit of ETIAS and supporting the Member States with the deployment of the Entry-Exit-System.
The new regulation also foresees the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) getting incorporated into FRONTEX’s framework, in a bid to improve its functioning.
The regulation, which has been approved by the European Parliament in mid-November grants FRONTEX with a broader mandate to support the activities of EU Member Countries, in particular regarding border control, return and cooperation with third countries.
At the time of the voting, nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola, who piloted and negotiated the law said that security was the main concern of every individual that she met since she was elected as a representative of the Maltese and Gozitan people in the EP, and that she wanted a law “which is fair with those in need of protection, firm with those who do not, and harsh with those who seek to exploit the most vulnerable.”
The new standing corps foresees 5,000 operational staff by 2021, while the standing corps will be fully operational by 2027 with 10,000 staff. The standing corps will consist of border and coast guards employed by the agency as well as staff seconded on a mandatory basis by EU countries.
FRONTEX was established in 2004 in a bid to improve the integrated management of the EU external borders. In 2017, FRONTEX was expanded to become the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.