New rules on Frontex adopted

The European Council adopts new rules for Frontex, the European Agency for the management of operational cooperation at the external borders of the EU.

On 13 September 2011, the European Parliament had already given its green light to the compromise agreement reached between Council and Parliament in June.

As a last step, the regulation needs to be signed by both institutions. It will then be published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force 20 days later, certainly before the end of the year.

The revised rules will strengthen the operational capacities of Frontex in a number of areas, given the possibility for Frontex to buy or lease its own equipment  or to buy such equipment in co-ownership with a member state; a mechanism for member states to second national border guards and make available equipment to the agency.

The new rules also strengthen provisions for the protection of fundamental rights, including the establishment of a Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights and the designation of a Fundamental Rights Officer.

Frontex was created in 2004 with the aim to coordinate and assist member states’ action in the surveillance and control of the external borders of the EU. The agency officially became operational on 1 May 2005 and is based in Warsaw, Poland.

Earlier this year, Frontex established a first regional operational office in Piraeus, Greece, on a pilot basis.

There are currently approximately 300 people working for the agency. Since Frontex became operational, its financial resources have increased significantly from €6 million to €86m in 2011.

In September 2011, the European Parliament added another €43.9 million Frontex’s 2011 budget due to a substantial increase in the agency’s operational activities.

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What does the United States have better than us. They send illegal immigrants back, why can't we?
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It just depends on how Frontex develops. Either it becomes a robust coastguard and will keep away the boats of illegal immigrants, or it will be under the control of this so-called fundamental rights officer and it will become a free ferry service taking illegal immigrants from North Africa to southern Europe. Time will tell.