Under the expected enforcement, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will have a standing corps of 10,000 border guards, a stronger mandate on returns and will also be able to cooperate more closely with non-EU countries, including those beyond the EU's immediate neighbourhood.
Welcoming today's final adoption, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Home Affairs, Migration and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said:
Today the European Union has achieved an ambitious task of transforming the EU border agency, Frontex, into a fully-fledged European Border and Coast Guard. This Agency will be equipped to offer tangible support to Member States to manage the EU's external border – wherever and whenever needed.
From less than 300 border guards on the ground in 2014, the European Border and Coast Guard is now deploying around 1,300 officers and will soon have a 10,000-strong standing corps available for deployment, Mr. Avramopoulos stressed.
The European Border and Coast Guard is now stronger than ever. While Member States will remain responsible for the management of external borders, the standing corps will provide unprecedented operational support on the ground. Its officers will be able to assist national border guards in conducting identity and document checks, with border surveillance and return operations.
The European Parliament and the Council will now jointly sign the final text.
The text will then be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and the European Border and Coast Guard's reinforced mandate will enter into force 20 days later.
The new European Border and Coast Guard standing corps will be ready for deployment from 2021, and will then gradually reach its full capacity of 10,000 border guards.
The European Border and Coast Guard consists of Member States' authorities responsible for border management and return, and of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
It 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.
In May 2019, the European Border and Coast Guard, in collaboration with Albania, launched its first joint operation on the territory of a non-EU country.
Did you know?
- During the migration crisis, the European Border and Coast Guard had to increase its deployments across Europe 5 times.
- EU operations at sea, including operations coordinated by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, contributed to saving almost 760,000 lives since 2015.
- All the costs arising from the deployment of the standing corps will be covered by the Agency.
- Standing corps will be able to intervene only following a request by a Member State.
- The 10,000 border guards will represent only 8.7% of the total 115,000 Member States operational staff in charge of border management across the EU.