Brussels, 19 July 2006
The European Commission has today presented a proposal for a Regulation establishing a mechanism for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams and amending the Regulation establishing the FRONTEX Agency ( Council Regulation (EC) No. 2007/2004) as regards that mechanism.
On 26 October 2004, the Council adopted Regulation (EC) No. 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX).
In the so called Hague Programme which forms part of the conclusions of the European Council on 4 and 5 November 2004 and lays down the priorities for the future development of an area of freedom, security and justice, the European Council has called for the creation of "teams of national experts that can provide rapid technical and operational assistance to Member States requesting it, following proper risk analysis by the Border Management Agency and acting within its framework, on the basis of a proposal by the Commission on the appropriate powers and funding of such teams."
The European Council in the conclusions of its meeting on 15 and 16 December 2005 invited the Commission to "bring forward a proposal for the creation of rapid reaction teams made up of national experts able to provide rapid technical and operational assistance at times of high influxes of migrants, in accordance with the Hague Programme, by Spring 2006."
This proposal intends to meet that invitation of the European Council.
The main objective of Community policy in the field of external borders is the creation of an integrated border management ensuring a high and uniform level of control of persons at and surveillance of the external borders. This objective, which is considered an essential prerequisite for an area of freedom, security and justice requires, requires inter alia, the establishment of common rules as to the standards and procedures to be followed by Member States when controlling persons at the external borders.
With the adoption earlier this year by the European Parliament and the Council of the Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders, the legal provisions of the Schengen acquis on external borders have been restructured and brought up to date.
Similarly, with the establishment of the Agency in 2005, a Community mechanism for coordination of operational cooperation between Member States at the external borders has been put in place, thereby enhancing the correct implementation at operational level of the common rules laid down in the above mentioned Community Code.
Content of the proposal
Bearing in mind the critical situations which a number of Member States face in the event of a high influx of illegal immigrants arriving by sea, it is considered necessary to further strengthen the solidarity between Member States and the Community in this field by introducing Rapid Border Intervention Teams, which can directly and efficiently assist the national border guard services of Member States in such situations, including with regard to the correct implementation of the Schengen Borders Code.
The proposal for a Regulation basically consists of two parts, one dealing with the establishment of a mechanism for the creation of the Rapid Border Intervention Teams, their tasks and funding, and the other amending Council Regulation (EC) no 2007/2004 for the purpose of implementing the Rapid Border Intervention Teams in the framework of the Agency.
The aim of the proposal is to establish a mechanism whereby Member States facing extraordinary obstacles in controlling their external borders would be able to make use of the expertise and manpower of border guards of other Member States on a temporary basis. In order to ensure that the officers of border guards of other Member States are used in the most efficient way, the proposal also defines the tasks which these officers should perform during operational activities in another Member State.
The practical experience with coordination of operational cooperation of Member States at their external borders, both under the aegis of the Agency and of the former External Borders Practitioners' Common Unit, shows that there is a need for establishing common rules on the tasks that can be performed by border guard officers from one Member State operating in the territory of another Member State as part of a joint operation
The present proposal does not cover the bilateral cooperation by Member States assisting each other in the day-to-day control and surveillance of their external borders.
The proposal for a Regulation adopted by the Commission today will be communicated to the European Parliament and to the Council for negotiation and adoption.