Following today's endorsement by the European Parliament of the Commission's proposal to establish a European Border and Coast Guard, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said:
"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. It is also proof that the EU is delivering swiftly and resolutely on its commitments. When the Commission tabled this proposal in December 2015, we asked the Parliament and the Council to treat it as a matter of urgency. Since December, the EU institutions have worked constructively together to make this happen.
The European Border and Coast Guard will ensure a truly collective European management of our borders, based on the principle that security of our common EU external borders is a responsibility shared amongst all EU countries. There should no longer be shortages of staff or equipment for operations at our external borders. The external border of one Member State is the external border of all Member States. 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.
Whilst Member States will keep their sovereignty and national border guards will remain the key actors for managing their borders, 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. The formal steps necessary to finalise the adoption now need to be taken swiftly by the European Parliament and the Council. It is important that the European Border and Coast Guard can start delivering as soon as possible."
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 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. This proposal will help to manage migration more effectively, improve the internal security of the European Union and safeguard the principle of free movement of persons. The establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard will ensure a strong and shared management of the external borders.
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.
Today's approval by the European Parliament will be followed by a final vote on technical modifications resulting from a legal-linguistic revision. This will allow the Council to adopt the final text of the proposal.