sexta-feira, 11 de dezembro de 2015

Brussels is to propose the creation of a standing European border force that could take control of the bloc’s external frontiers — even if a government objected.

Brussels is to propose the creation of a standing European border force that could take control of the bloc’s external frontiers — even if a government objected.

The move would arguably represent the biggest transfer of sovereignty since the creation of the single currency.

EU plans border force to police external frontiers
Duncan Robinson and Alex Barker in Brussels
December 10, 2015 6:37 pm

Against the backdrop of a crisis that has seen 1.2m migrants reach Europe this year, the European Commission will unveil plans next week to replace the Frontex border agency with a permanent border force and coastguard — deployed with the final say of the commission, according to EU officials and documents seen by the Financial Times.
The blueprint represents a last-ditch attempt to save the Schengen passport-free travel zone, by introducing the kind of common border policing repeatedly demanded by Paris and Berlin. Britain and Ireland have opt-outs from EU migration policy, and would not be obliged to take part in the scheme.
European leaders have discussed a common border force for more than 15 years, but always struggled to overcome deep-seated objections to yielding national powers to monitor or enforce borders — one of the core functions of a sovereign state. Greece, for instance, only recently agreed to accept EU offers to send border teams, after months of wrangling over their remit.
Systemic weaknesses in the Schengen Area agreement were laid bare by this year’s massive influx of migrants, many of them unregistered, into the EU through Greece and Italy. Concerns came to a head after last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris, when it transpired that at least some of the assailants came to Europe from Syria via Greece.
Why Brussels wants to man Europe’s borders
Migrants and refugees, who spent the night outdoors, are escorted by Slovenian soldiers and police officers as they walk towards a refugee camp after crossing the Croatian-Slovenian border near Rigonce, Slovenia, on October 26, 2015
Plan sets stage for epic political fight over the price of keeping the Schengen area alive
One of the most contentious elements of the regulation would hand the commission the power to authorise a deployment to a frontier, on the recommendation of the management board of the newly formed European Border and Coast Guard. This would also apply to non-EU members of Schengen, such as Norway. Although member states would be consulted, they would not have the power to veto a deployment unilaterally.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, who is responsible for EU migration policy, said: “The refugee crisis has shown the limitations of the current EU border agency, Frontex, to effectively address and remedy the situation created by . . . the pressure on Europe’s external borders.”
He said the EBCG would be a way to “protect and strengthen Schengen”.
Officials argued that the proposals were legal under an article in the EU treaty that allows “the gradual introduction of an integrated management system for external borders” — a form of wording some diplomats saw as precluding full centralisation of border forces.
Schengen map
Frontex, the EU border agency that will be replaced by the new border guard, was hamstrung by a mandate that allowed it only to “co-ordinate” the protection of borders, rather than enforce them itself.
These limits have become obvious during the migration crisis. The Warsaw-based agency was not allowed to purchase its own equipment, nor directly employ its own border guards: it came to rely on pledges from member states, which often failed to materialise.
It also did not have a mandate to conduct search-and-rescue missions, severely hampering efforts to assist refugees in the Mediterranean earlier this year.

If the plan is approved by EU states, Frontex’s replacement will have a slew of new powers, including the ability to hire and control its own border guards and buy its own equipment. It will also be allowed to operate in non-EU countries — such as Serbia and Macedonia, which have become transit countries for people trying to reach northern Europe — if requested.
The new agency will be able to deport people who do not have the right to remain in Europe — a power Frontex lacked.
It will also be able to call on a pool of border guards set aside by member states in reserve, as well as its own guards. The new border force, if approved, will be subject to the national laws of the member states in which it operates.

National capitals will retain day-to-day control of their borders, but the new agency will be able to monitor their efforts and step in if it feels the protection on offer is inadequate.

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