Today, the European Parliament adopted the Commission's proposal to reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard Agency with a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027. The Agency will also have a stronger mandate on returns and will cooperate more closely with non-EU countries, including those beyond the EU's immediate neighbourhood. This reinforcement will give the Agency the right level of ambition to respond to the common challenges facing Europe in managing migration and its external borders.
Welcoming today's positive vote, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Home Affairs, Migration and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said:
“The reinforced European Border and Coast Guard with a new 10,000 strong standing corps of border guards will give Member States the support where and when they need it to better manage their external borders. The standing corps will be operational and ready to be deployed to assist Member States as of 2021 and will gradually reach its full capacity of 10,000 border guards by 2027. This is a major step forward in the EU's collective ability to protect its borders and we can be proud of what we have achieved.
Thanks to the commitment of the European Parliament and the Council, this upgrade was agreed in record time, showing that together, we can rise to the challenges facing our Union. The reinforced European Border and Coast Guard will bring about a Europe that protects: a Europe that is better at managing our common external borders, fighting irregular migration, carrying out returns and cooperating with partner countries, beyond the EU's immediate neighbourhood. Stronger borders will also contribute to preserving the Schengen area of free movement.
After today's positive vote and adoption in the European Parliament, our main task is now to ensure the quick implementation of the Agency's reinforced mandate and the swift roll out of the standing corps. The preparatory steps will start in the coming weeks and the Commission will lend its full support in this process.”
The Council now has to adopt the Regulation. The enhanced mandate of the European Border and Coast Guard will enter into force 20 days after publication of the text in the Official Journal of the European Union. The new European Border and Coast Guard standing corps will be available for deployment from 2021, once it becomes fully operational and will reach its full capacity of 10,000 border guards by 2027.
The European Border and Coast Guard was established in 2016, building on the existing structures of Frontex, to meet the new challenges and political realities faced by the EU, both as regards migration and internal security. The reliance on voluntary Member States' contributions of staff and equipment has however resulted in persistent gaps affecting the efficiency of the support the European Border and Coast Guard could offer to Member States.
In his 2018 State of the Union Address President Juncker announced that the Commission will reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard even further. The objective of this upgrade was to equip the Agency with a standing corps of 10,000 border guards and to provide the agency with its own equipment to allow it to respond to challenges as they arise. The European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on the Commission's proposal on 28 March, which was then confirmed by the Council and the European Parliament's LIBE Committee on 1 April.
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