European Border and Coast Guard gets final green light

The European Union Council gave its final approval to the European Border and Coast Guard on September 14 and the EU now estimates the body will start its activities in mid-October.

The main role of the European Border and Coast Guard is to help provide integrated border management at the external borders. It is designed to ensure the effective management of migration flows and provide a high level of security for the EU. 

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.

Robert Kalinak, Minister for the Interior of Slovakia and President of the Council, said: “I welcome the speed and the efficiency with which the Council and the Parliament have acted on this important issue. The way we manage our external borders directly affects the entire Schengen area, including its internal borders. The European Border and Coast Guard will help us better face today’s challenges together. Only with effective management of our external borders can we return to normality within Schengen. There is no other way.”

The European Border and Coast Guard will start its activities once the regulation enters into force on 6 October 2016 (20 days after its publication in the official journal). The provisions related to the setting up of the reserve and technical equipment pools will enter into force two months after the rest of the regulation and those related to the return pools, three months after the rest of the regulation.

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