Business General

European Border Guard: Council ready to negotiate with the Parliament

On 6 April 2016, the Permanent Representatives Committee agreed, on behalf of the Council, its negotiating position on the proposed regulation on the European Border Guard. On the basis of this mandate, the Netherlands presidency will start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as the latter has adopted its position.

Klaas Dijkhoff, Minister for Migration of the Netherlands and President of the Council welcomed the agreement: “The European Border Guard is a useful and necessary means to improve controls at our common external borders. We need effective border controls to better manage migration flows and improve the security for our citizens. I’m pleased that the urgency of this measure has been recognized and that we have been able to come to a timely agreement.”

The primary objective of the European Border Guard is to ensure and implement, as a shared responsibility, the European integrated border management at the external borders with a view to managing migration effectively and ensuring a high level of security within the EU, while safeguarding EU-internal free movement.

It will consist of an European border guard agency (the current Frontex agency with expanded tasks) and national authorities responsible for border management. The renewed Agency would focus its activities on the establishment of an operational strategy for the European integrated border management and on the assistance in its implementation of all member states concerned.

 The means for this task include: 

  • appointing liaison officers of the agency in member states;
  • drafting of vulnerability assessment regarding member states’ border control capacity;
  • organising joint operations and rapid border interventions;
  • assisting the Commission in the coordination of migration management support teams when a member states faces disproportionate migratory pressures in hotspot areas of their external border;
  • ensuring the practical execution of measures in emergency situations;
  • providing for a mandatory pooling of human resources by establishing a rapid reserve pool of at least 1500 border guards;
  • organising, coordinating and conducting return operations and interventions (establishing a Return Office within the Agency);
  • promoting cooperation with third countries, by coordinating operational cooperation between them and member states on border management.

In order to improve coast guard functions, better cooperation between agencies is envisaged. For this reason, the mandates of the European Fisheries Control Agency and the European Maritime Safety Agency will be aligned to the new European Border Guard. Therefore, the Permanent Representatives Committee also agreed its  negotiating positions on the two related proposals amending the Regulations establishing the two agencies.

 Next steps

The negotiations with the European Parliament will start as soon as it adopts its position. The Presidency’s intention is to reach a political agreement before the end of its term, as requested by the European Council of 18-19 February 2016.

The proposal, which is part of the Borders legislative package, was submitted by the Commission on 15 December 2015.