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2015/0313(COD) - 15/12/2015 Legislative proposal

PURPOSE: to amend Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency in order to reinforce European co-operation on coastguard functions to improve cooperation and coordination between the relevant EU agencies in order to enhance synergies between their respective services.

PROPOSED ACT: Regulation of the European Parliament and of the council.

ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council.

BACKGROUND: national authorities carrying out coastguard functions are responsible for a wide range of missions, including but not limited to maritime safety, security, search and rescue, border control, fisheries control, customs control, general law enforcement and environmental protection.

The underlying problem is that coastguard functions, such as border control, maritime safety and security, search and rescue operations, fisheries control, pollution control etc., are currently carried out by more than 300 authorities in Member States, which are not always well coordinated even at national level.

The objective of this initiative is to improve European cooperation on coastguard functions by developing cross-sectoral cooperation among the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) to improve synergies between those agencies, in order to provide more efficient and cost-effective multipurpose services to national authorities carrying out coastguard functions.

The additional tasks for EMSA are fully in line with European Border and Coast Guard Agency and EFCA mandates and will assist them to also fulfil their duties and tasks.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the European Fisheries Control Agency and the European Maritime Safety Agency should therefore strengthen their cooperation both with each other and with the national authorities carrying out coastguard functions to increase maritime situational awareness as well as to support coherent and cost-efficient action.

The additional tasks for EMSA are fully in line with European Border and Coast Guard Agency and EFCA mandates and will assist them to also fulfil their duties and tasks.

CONTENT: this legislative proposal forms part of a set of measures proposed by the Commission to reinforce the protection of Europe's external borders, including European cooperation on coastguard function, which also includes proposals for a Regulation establishing a European Border and Coast Guard Agency and to amend Council Regulation (EC) No 768/2005 establishing a European Fisheries Control Agency.

The proposal stipulates that the EMSA shall, in cooperation with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the European Fisheries Control Agency, support national authorities carrying out coastguard functions at national and Union level, and where appropriate at international level by:

  • sharing information generated by fusing and analysing data available in ship reporting systems and other information systems hosted by or accessible to the agencies, in accordance with their respective legal bases and without prejudice to the ownership of data by Member States;
  • providing surveillance and communication services based on state-of-the-art technology, including space-based and ground infrastructure and sensors mounted on any kind of platform;
  • capacity building by elaborating guidelines, recommendations and best practices as well as by supporting the training and exchange of staff, with a view to enhancing the exchange of information and cooperation on coastguard functions;
  • capacity sharing, including the planning and implementation of multipurpose operations and the sharing of assets and other capabilities across sectors and borders.

The Commission may adopt, in the form of a recommendation, a practical handbook on European cooperation on coastguard functions, containing guidelines, recommendations and best practices for the exchange of information and cooperation at national, Union and international level.

BUDGETARY IMPLICATIONS: this initiative requires an increase in the EU contribution to EMSA of around EUR 22 million per year (that is around EUR 87 million for the 2017 to 2020 period) and the recruitment of 17 TA staff. This is operational expenditure for around EUR 81 million mainly to cover provision of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) services for border control surveillance (EUR 67 million) and satellite aerial surveillance (SAT-AIS) and Satcom data and services to increase the surveillance capability of the 3 agencies and national authorities to strengthen as a primary objective the control of the external maritime borders of the European Union.