On 22 June 2016, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) confirmed, on behalf of the Council, the compromise text agreed with the European Parliament on the proposed regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard. The agreement was reached between the Council, Parliament and Commission on 21 June. This agreement is in line with the request from the European Council for negotiations on this file to be concluded before the end of the Netherlands Presidency.
Klaas Dijkhoff, Minister for Migration of the Netherlands and President of the Council welcomed the agreement: "We urgently need an European Border and Coast Guard to strengthen our joined external borders in a structural way. With better border controls we have more control over migration streams and we enlarge the safety of our citizens. I'm satisfied that the member states and the European Parliament have made an effort to make sure that the European Border and Coast Guard can start as soon as possible".
The primary objective of the European Border and Coast 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 and in full respect for fundamental rights.
It will consist of an European Border and Coast 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:
- drafting of vulnerability assessment regarding member states' border control capacity;
- organising joint operations and rapid border interventions to reinforce the capacity of the member states to implement their obligations with regard to the control of the external borders, and to face challenges at the external border resulting from illegal immigration or cross-border crime
- 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 case of a situation requiring urgent action at the external borders;
- providing technical and operational assistance in the support of search and rescue operations for persons in distress at sea which may arise during border surveillance operations at sea;
- providing for a mandatory pooling of human resources by establishing a rapid reserve pool of at least 1500 border guards;
- appointing liaison officers of the agency in member states;
- organising, coordinating and conducting return operations and interventions;
- 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.
Now that the agreement has been confirmed by the Permanent Representatives Committee, on behalf of the Council, the regulation will be submitted to the European Parliament for a vote at first reading, and to the Council for adoption.