The member states of the European have agreed to expand the bloc's coastguard service from its 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, would have expanded powers
to operate in border regions and work with non-EU countries on returns, provided that host states approve. Member states will now have to negotiate the draft deal with the European Parliament, with a
view toward wrapping up a final agreement by EU elections in late May.
In 2018, the European Commission proposed appointing 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. 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. Some also voiced concern that the proposal could take away states' sovereign control of their borders.
Under the new deal, Frontex forces can perform certain tasks such as border controls and deportations, and they will be allowed to use force and carry weapons. But member states would retain sovereign control of their borders, and their approval would be needed to authorize Frontex operations. As for personnel, the deal sees the expansion starting in 2021, with the commission reviewing the plan in
2024. At that point, it may suggest amendments.
[Attention: These images are intended exclusively for editorial use in connection with the current coverage and may be used only when using the copyright notice "Photo: dpa".]