European Border and Coast Guard Agency launched in Bulgaria
Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela, in his capacity as upcoming president of the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union, yesterday took part in the launch of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency at the Bulgarian Turkish border crossing point of Kapitan Andreevo.
The agency has extended the mandate of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the member states of the European Union (Frontex), which has since 2004 been coordinating the operational cooperation of EU member states at the external borders.
While the responsibility for the management of the external borders remains primarily with the member states, the Agency – which will continue to be commonly called Frontex – will support border control at land, air and sea borders by reinforcing, assessing and coordinating actions of member states at the Union’s external borders.
It will coordinate the deployment of technical equipment and specialised border guards to those EU countries facing an increased migratory pressure. The Agency will be able to draw on a reserve pool of a minimum of 1,500 border guards that can be deployed in four days. Malta will be contributing six experts to this pool.
Minister Abela said: “Frontex now has a stronger mandate and will have the necessary resources to help member states secure the EU’s external borders when they need assistance. We are looking forward to the operational set-up of the Agency. It is, of course, not an easy task but if all stakeholders make the effort to implement their commitments, it is possible to make it happen.”