Beefing up Frontex with 10,000 standing corps by 2027

Photo: EP Roberta Metsola

Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, will have 10,000-strong standing corps by 2027, agreed MEPs at their sitting on 17 April. With a big majority, the lawmakers adopted a new law to strengthen this EU agency as to resolve the current shortcomings and better respond to the present needs in security and migration, safeguarding better protection of EU external borders. The revamped rules were already agreed with the Council.

According to the new law, the standing corps will consist of border and coast guards employed by the agency as well as staff seconded on a mandatory basis by EU countries. It will have 5,000 operational staff in 2021, 6,000 by 2023 and will be fully operational by 2027 with 10,000 staff. A rapid reserve pool will be established for deployment in emergencies. MEPs stipulated that the updated agency will be able to support return procedures in EU states and the cooperation with non-EU countries will also be strengthened by allowing for new agreements beyond the current limitation to countries neighbouring the EU.

“In less than six months, we managed to draft, negotiate and approve a new law which will provide a response to the topmost concern of people in every Member State,” said Roberta Metsola, EPP MEP from Malta, who is a rapporteur for the new law. She also stressed that Europeans will feel safer at home, as the continent's borders will be better managed and there will be new tools to combat cross-border crime.

On the addition of 10,000 border and coast guards and operational staff, the rapporteur explained that they will be in a position to assist Member States in carrying out border control checks, as well as facilitating the process of returns. They can also be called by Member States in cases of emergency, and in such circumstances the agency will now also be in a position to provide equipment such as airplanes and boats, within a maximum of a few days.

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