Creating a European Border and Coast Guard

Last year saw 1.5 million migrants crossing into the EU. In order to guarantee passport-free travel within the Schengen area the EU Commission proposes to protect the external borders more effectively with a new European Border and Coast Guard agency.

How did we get here?

In 2015 around 1.5 million people from outside Europe passed the EU’s external borders into the so-called Schengen Area (this great area where you don’t need to show your passport anymore in order to cross over from one country to another). Most EU Member States agreed that something had to be done in order to tackle this refugee and migration crisis that is making passport-free travel within the Schengen Area difficult (because member states have reintroduced border checks). That’s why the EU Commission came up with the idea of a new European Border and Coast Guard Service.


Why is this important for me?

According to the EU Commission, this is important because a European Border and Coast Guard Agency could make sure that we have an integrated border management of the EU’s external borders. If this Agency is approved, everyone hopes that we can go back to a real Schengen area without internal borders. For even more security for EU citizens, the Commission also wants to see systematic checks for everyone coming into and leaving the Schengen area.


What's the content?

There are a number of other smaller new tasks, which the Agency will take on. For a more detailed list of the new competences see the summary of the Commission's proposal. The plan initially allowed the Commission to overrule EU states who are not able or who don't want to defend their part of the external border. But the proposal was changed to give the Council final approval rights, rather than the Commission and MEPs confirmed this approach. Yet, reluctant states could still be outvoted in the Council.


What's happening with this legislation in the future?

Against all odds and expectations, this was a high speed procedure! About six months from the presentation of the legislative proposal Parliament and Council agreed on a deal in Trialogue. They wanted it to be done by June 2016 and they did it. In July 2016 the agreement was confirmed by a formal vote in the EP's plenary and on 14 September 2016 the Council gave its final approval to the European Border and Coast Guard. The regulation is now expected to enter into force in early October 2016, 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal.


Related Bills:

Use of Flight Passenger Data

New visa rules for EU travellers

Fighting the trafficking of firearms

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