The migration crisis showed that EU couldn’t have a Schengen zone of free movement without strong external borders. According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, 71% of Europeans want the EU to do more to protect these borders. Parliament is working on a range of initiatives to beef up those controls.
MEPs approved on 6 July plans to set up an EU border control system, bringing together the EU’s border agency Frontex and national border management authorities. National authorities will still manage their borders on a day-to-day basis but, if their EU external borders are under pressure, they will be able to get help from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to rapidly deploy pooled border guard teams to those borders. Once Council approves the proposal, it could enter into force this autumn.
Latvian EPP member Artis Pabriks, who is in charging of steering the plans through Parliament, said: “The European Border and Coast Guard Regulation will ensure that the EU external borders are safer and better managed. This is not a silver bullet that can solve the migration crisis that the EU is facing today or fully restore trust in the Schengen area, but it is very much needed first step.”
In addition Parliament is negotiating with the Council to make travelling abroad for terrorist purposes a crime in all EU countries. This would include activities such as training or being trained, incitement to terrorism or financing terrorist activities.
Parliament is also negotiating with the Council a proposal to have the details of all EU nationals checked against databases of lost and stolen documents at external air, sea and land borders.