Today, the European Commission put forward its plans to change Frontex into a European border and coast guard agency. The Commission said today that Frontex teams should be up and running within three days of an emergency and that the Frontex agency should be able to act without a request from the Member State affected. It would be up to the Commission to decide on its deployment after consulting Member States. The EPP Group strongly supports the proposal.

Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group, Esteban González Pons, said: “This will involve a transfer of power to the EU Institutions but we strongly believe that this is necessary given the unprecedented flow of migrants/refugees that have arrived over recent months. Although migrant numbers have gone down somewhat over the past few weeks, we do expect numbers to pick up as Spring draws near. We have to be prepared not least to save human lives but also to save the very existence of Schengen. If external borders are permeable, internal borders will inevitably be set up. The security of external borders is vital to the existence of Schengen and indeed the EU."

Frontex currently employs 1500-2000 staff members and owns some equipment. Today, the European Commission also said that Frontex should no longer have to rely entirely upon Member States’ contributions.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 216 Members from 27 Member States

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