We have a press release from the European Union announcing the formation of an EU Border and Coast Guard.
From the description, this will not be a Coast Guard in the way we think of it, rather it will be the marine side of a border protection supervisory agency. They will still depend heavily on the various national agencies. They will, in some respects, combine functions we associate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. While SAR is mentioned, the primary consideration is addressing problems that have emerged in the on-going immigration crisis.
The proposed budget and staffing are relatively small, but given that they are authorized to purchase their own equipment, this may be another indication of increasing federalization of EU powers.
” For the first time the Agency will be able to acquire equipment itself and to draw on a pool of technical equipment provided by the Member States…The new Agency’s human resources will more than double that of Frontex, to reach 1,000 permanent staff, including field operatives, by 2020.”
“The Agency will be able to assess the operational capacity, technical equipment and resources of Member States to face challenges at their external borders and require Member States to take measures to address the situation within a set time-limit in case of vulnerabilities.”
“…the Commission will be able to adopt an implementing decision determining that the situation at a particular section of the external borders requires urgent action at European level. This will allow the Agency to step in and deploy European Border and Coast Guard Teams to ensure that action is taken on the ground even when a Member State is unable or unwilling to take the necessary measures.”
“Coast Guard surveillance: National coastguards will be part of the European Border and Coast Guard to the extent that they carry out border control tasks. The mandates of the European Fisheries Control Agency and the European Maritime Safety Agency will be aligned to the new European Border and Coast Guard. The three Agencies will be able to launch joint surveillance operations, for instance by jointly operating Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (drones) in the Mediterranean Sea.”
The explanation is expanded upon in a Q&A format.
“Its strengthened mandate will include monitoring and supervisory responsibilities, as well as the capacity to intervene in urgent situations either at the request of a Member State or when a Member State is unable or unwilling to act…. The role of the Agency to contribute to search and rescue operations will also be significantly strengthened.”
“Today’s proposals will entail a gradual increase of the Agency budget from the €143 million originally planned for 2015 up to €238 million in 2016 to €281 million in 2017, reaching€322 million in 2020 when all additional staff will be recruited…In order to implement its new tasks the Agency should reach 1000 staff members by 2020, compared to 402 staff members at the start of 2016… Member States will have to make available at least 1500 border guards to be deployed by the Agency in rapid border interventions within days.”
“As a general rule, European Border and Coast Guard teams will act only in the presence of host Member State staff. Any disciplinary action against them would be subject to the disciplinary measures of the home Member State.”