Strengthening border controls to manage migration flows

EC proposes to improve return procedures effectiveness and set more rules for legal movement

Photo: EPA Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos

The EU needs no temporary solidarity and ad-hoc solutions each time a new ship arrives, but lasting solidarity and better border controls, EC President Jean-Claude Juncker stated last Wednesday in his State of the Union Address. He also tabled three new proposals to ensure better migration management and better protection of Europe's external borders.

The proposals set a new level of ambition for the European Border and Coast Guard and the EU's Agency for Asylum, reinforcing both to ensure that Member States can rely on full EU operational support at all times. These new initiatives come a week ahead of the informal meeting in Salzburg, where EU leaders are expected to deepen and widen migration debate in search for a concrete solutions. They are intended to facilitate an overall compromise on the ongoing reform of the EU's asylum system.

With the new package the Commission is proposing to improve the effectiveness of return procedures, to update existing EU rules on return, and set out the next steps on legal migration. “The European Border and Coast Guard's new operational arm of 10,000 EU staff and a reinforced EU Asylum Agency will ensure EU solidarity is effectively delivered on the ground, whenever and wherever needed. We are providing Member States with the necessary tools to agree on the overall reform of the EU's asylum system and strike the right balance between solidarity and responsibility. It is now high time they deliver on this commitment,” First VP Frans Timmermans said.

The core of the new package includes a fully equipped European Border and Coast Guard. Building on two years of work, the Commission is proposing to further reinforce it and give it the right level of ambition, corresponding to the common challenges Europe is facing in managing migration and borders. The EBCG will, however, serve to support Member States and will not replace their responsibilities in external border management and return.

The new proposal includes a standing corps of 10,000 operational staff by 2020. The agency will be able to rely on its own staff and its own equipment, such as vessels, planes and vehicles. Under the authority and control of the Member State to which they are deployed, EBCG members will be able to carry out tasks such as identity checks, authorising or refusing entry at the external borders, and intercepting illegals at the border.

In addition to organising and financing joint return operations, the agency will also be able to support return procedures in Member States, for example by identifying irregularly staying non-EU nationals, acquiring travel documents and preparing return decisions for national authorities. The agency will also be able to launch joint operations and deploy staff outside the EU, beyond countries neighbouring the EU.

The proposal also aims at equip the future EU Asylum Agency with the necessary mandate, tools and financial means needed to provide a rapid and full service to Member States throughout the asylum procedure. It will contribute as well to speeding up return procedures, better prevent absconding and irregular secondary movements and increase effective returns of illegals.

More on this subject: Migration crisis

Similar articles