- New standing corps to support member states with border control and return tasks and in the fight against cross-border crime
- Strengthened cooperation with non-EU countries
MEPs approved the new law to strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard, on Wednesday, to ensure better protection of EU external borders.
The changes to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), already agreed with EU ministers, aim to resolve the current shortcomings and better respond to the present needs in security and migration.
A new standing corps of 10 000 staff to be set up by 2027
A new standing corps will be set up to support EU countries on the ground in border control and return tasks, as well as in the fight against cross-border crime. Starting with 5 000 operational staff in 2021, the standing corps will be fully operational by 2027 with 10 000 staff. In addition, a rapid reserve pool will be created for deployment in emergencies.
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.
More efficient return procedures and cooperation with non-EU countries
The updated agency will be able to support return procedures in member states, for example by identifying irregularly staying non-EU nationals and by assisting national authorities to obtain travel documents. The new rules will also strengthen the cooperation with the European Asylum Support Office.
Cooperation with non-EU countries will also be strengthened, by allowing for new agreements beyond the current limitation to countries neighbouring the EU. Respect for fundamental rights and protection of personal data in such cooperation are ensured through several safeguards. Additionally, a significant number of fundamental rights monitors will constantly assess that the agency’s operational activities comply with fundamental rights.
Rapporteur Roberta Metsola (EPP, MT) said: “This law will transform the way the European Border and Coast Guard Agency deals with migration, including ensuring 10 000 new border guards and staff are in place; boosting the fight against cross-border crime; protecting fundamental rights and aiding the efficient return of those who are not eligible for protection. Our guiding principle has been to be fair with those in need of protection, firm with those who are not eligible and harsh with those who seek to exploit the most vulnerable people on the planet. Citizens asked and we delivered - in record time.”
The rules were adopted by 403 to 162, with 44 abstentions. The text now needs to be formally approved by the Council before entering into force.