29.03.2019 – 14:30
EU finalizes deal on coastguard expansion by 2027
Negotiators from EU member states and the European Parliament agreed Thursday to expand the bloc's coastguard service from the current staff of 1,500 to 10,000 by 2027 - a slower timetable than initially proposed.
The border and coastguard service, also known as Frontex, will have expanded powers to operate in border regions, provided that host states approve.
In 2018, the European Commission proposed a total of 10,000 EU border guards by 2020 as part of a series of measures to crack down on migration, despite a massive drop in arrivals in recent years.
In 2018, arrivals totalled 150,114 - 27 per cent less than in the previous year, according to Frontex.
The commission proposal was based on the idea that a larger and more robust Frontex would allow the European Union to better control its external borders, meaning the bloc could remove existing controls on its internal borders.
But many member states pushed back, arguing that the timeline was too ambitious and that the proposal could take away states' sovereign control of their borders.
Under the deal, Frontex forces will be boosted starting in 2021, and will have enhanced powers to carry out tasks such as border controls and deportations. They will also be allowed to use force and carry weapons if host states approve.
But member states would retain sovereign control of their borders, and their approval would be needed to authorize Frontex operations.
Finally, EU lawmakers and national parliaments will have a greater role in oversight.
The deal now goes to the full EU parliament and to member states for final approval.
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