BRUSSELS A proposal to give the European Union executive the energy to send forces unbidden into member states to defend the common European frontier will face resistance from some nations when it is published this week.
The European Commission desires to be capable to deploy personnel from a new European Border and Coastguard Agency with no, as presently needed, the consent of the state concerned, EU officials told Reuters in early December, reflecting frustration with Greek reluctance to seek assist with migrants.
EU officials call the strategy a largely theoretical “nuclear alternative” and stress that any infringement of national sovereignty would be balanced by the energy of a majority of member states to block Commission intervention – similar to checks agreed throughout the euro debt crisis.
The Commission will set out the program on Tuesday to reinforce its Frontex agency with up to six instances more employees, EU officials said, following a commitment to an EU border guard in September by President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“We believe the existing situation justifies a particular ambition,” the Commission’s chief spokesman mentioned on Friday, expressing self-confidence about backing from member states.
Failure to strengthen the EU’s external borders, senior officials argue, will see more states reimpose frontier controls inside the bloc, wrecking its cherished Schengen free of charge-movement zone, and foster the rise of anti-EU nationalists like France’s National Front.
But while huge powers France and Germany support such EU energy, other EU leaders might voice concerns at a summit on Thursday. Italy has pushed for a “Europeanisation” of external frontiers to relieve the expenses on itself and Greece of policing the Mediterranean. But the program may go as well far for a lot of leaders.
“This concept will face opposition from most member states,” an EU diplomat stated. “We think such a resolution would interfere also deeply in member states’ internal competences.”
“The Commission is testing our limits,” said one more.
He compared it to the Commission’s push to oblige states to take in mandatory quotas of asylum seekers, which set furious east Europeans against German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Poland, a staunch opponent of mandatory refugee quotas, was quick to come out against the EU border force proposal.
“This implies generating an institution, which would decide arbitrarily on its actions with no the (concerned) member state’s participation,” Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told private Polish radio RMF on Sunday.
“It is a single of the choices we will protest against.”
Germany and France, alarmed at the threat to the Schengen open-borders program from up to a million undocumented migrants arriving by sea and trekking north from Greece and Italy this year, have named for central manage over the zone’s external frontiers and, as a final resort such as now in Greece, emergency powers to send in European forces uninvited.
But even supporters of the strategy among diplomats in Brussels acknowledge it will face resistance. “Absolutely everyone supports strengthening Frontex,” 1 stated, “but when it comes to a common border guard, we’ll have to see. There have been concerns.”
Governments are reserving judgment on a proposal they have but to see. But diplomats said numerous had been likely at least to demand stronger safeguards against getting forced to act by the EU executive. Existing powers that efficiently can suspend a country from the Schengen agreements if it fails to protect the external EU border are mandatory enough, some diplomats argue.
Such threats saw Greece drop objections to a new deployment of Frontex forces on its borders this month.
Sounding conciliatory to his effective northern partners, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told parliament in Athens on Friday that a European Coastguard was welcome.
But he stressed that ultimate authority over the borders would nevertheless lie with Greece and he ruled out joint patrols with the Turkish navy, as envisaged by the Commission.
EU officials mentioned on Friday that foreign border guards would, as now, be beneath nearby command whenever deployed.
Specifics of the plan will be announced on Tuesday, along with proposals for resettling Syrian refugees straight from Turkey into Europe and adjustments to Schengen guidelines to enhance security following the Paris attacks on Nov. 13. EU leaders meet in Brussels two days later but are unlikely to talk about it in depth.
EU officials stated that the new agency will have close to 1,000 permanent employees, compared to about 400 at Frontex now, and double or far more the Frontex price range. A new Returns Workplace would be charged with deporting those who fail to qualify for asylum.
In addition, the border guard force would be able to draw on a pool of around 1,500 personnel placed on standby whilst still functioning for national border forces in the Schengen region. These would kind a rapid reaction force, able to deploy inside days.
(Extra reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Wiktor Szary Editing by Mark Heinrich)