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European Commission - Announcement

Launch of the European Border and Coast Guard

Brussels, 6 October 2016

Today, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency is being officially launched at the Bulgarian external border with Turkey, less than a year after it was first proposed by the Commission.

The new European Border and Coast Guard Agency will closely monitor the EU's external borders and work together with Member States to quickly identify and address any potential security threats to the Schengen area. The Schengen area without internal borders is only sustainable if the external borders are effectively secured and protected.

Building on Frontex, the main tasks of the new European Border and Coast Guard Agency are to:

  • monitor migratory flows and carry out risk analysis;
  • monitor the management of the external borders of the EU;
  • provide operational and technical assistance to Member States;
  • support search and rescue operations;
  • support – together with other EU agencies – national coast guard authorities
  • play an enhanced role in returns.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency will reinforce Member States' capacities at the external borders through joint operations and rapid border interventions. Its strengthened mandate now includes monitoring and coordination responsibilities, as well as the possibility to intervene in urgent situations eitherat the request of a Member State or on the basis of a Council decision when a Member State is unable or unwilling to act.

The Agency's permanent staff will be more than doubled and for the first time, the Agency will be able to purchase its own equipment and deploy them in border operations at a moment's notice. A rapid reserve pool of at least 1,500 border guards and a technical equipment pool will be put at the disposal of the Agency – meaning there will no longer be shortages of staff of equipment for Agency operations.

The launch event takes place at the Kapitan Andreevo Border Checkpoint in Bulgaria on Thursday 6 October 2016 at 11:30 local time (10:30 Brussels time) and includes a presentation of the vehicles, equipment and teams of the new Agency, as well as a press conference attended by Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Bulgaria Rumiana Bachvarova, Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri, EU interior ministers and other senior officials.

The establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard, as announced by President Juncker in his State of the Union Speech on 9 September 2015, is part of the measures set out under the European Agenda on Migration to reinforce the management and security of the EU's external borders.

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