European Parliament gives nod for unified European border, Coast Guard

The European Parliament has backed the European Commission proposal to establish a European border and Coast Guard with the aim of protecting Europe’s external borders.

“We welcome the endorsement of the proposal for a European Border and Coast Guard by the European Parliament today. If we want to manage migration better and preserve our Schengen area of free movement, we need to strengthen the common management of the EU’s external borders. Today’s decision by the Parliament is a major step forward in that direction,” First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said.

The European Border and Coast Guard is envisioned as a collective management of European borders, based on the principle that security of common EU external borders is a responsibility shared amongst all EU countries.

The new agency will support, monitor and, when necessary, reinforce the national border guards, focusing primarily on early detection and prevention of weaknesses in the management of the external borders.

Member states will keep their sovereignty and national border guards will remain the key actors for managing their borders while the European Border and Coast Guard will work as a safety net.

In exceptional situations, 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.

Establishment of the new agency is still subject to a final vote in the European Council will be taken after technical modifications resulting from a legal-linguistic revision of the text.

This initiative is part of the measures under the European Agenda on Migration to reinforce the management and security of the EU’s external borders.

On 15 December 2015, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal for the creation of a European Border and Coast Guard, building on Frontex.  On 22 June 2016, the European Parliament, Council and Commission reached an agreement on the Commission’s proposal on a European Border and Coast Guard. The agreement was endorsed by the Council on 23 June 2016.