Seeking to stem the uncontrolled influx of people into the European Union, the European Parliament on Wednesday approved the creation of a new joint European border and coast guard agency to replace Frontex in a bid to reinforce the management and security of its borders.
The new agency will also have the power to act pre-emptively so as to avoid a repeat of the recent refugee crises. It will be based on the existing structures of Frontex and is expected to be operational in September.
“This is the Europe of responsibility, solidarity and action,” said European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, who expressed satisfaction that a proposal he made six months ago is finally becoming a reality.
The creation of the new body also helps to firmly establish a long-held Greek position that its borders are Europe’s borders.
The European Parliament is now expected to hold a vote on technical issues before the EU Council backs the proposal.
Lauding the Parliament’s approval, the European Commission’s Vice President Frans Timmermans said the joint guard will serve as “a safety net.”
“While member-states will keep their sovereignty and national border guards will remain the key actors for managing their borders, the European Border and Coast Guard will work as a safety net,” he said, adding that the agency will be activated in exceptional cases.
“When a member-state is unable to cope with the situation on its own, the European Border and Coast Guard will be able to step in, drawing on a pool of resources provided by the member-states.”