A European Union Coast Guard?

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.”

13 thoughts on “A European Union Coast Guard?

  1. I wouldn’t take much notice of this really. It re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. All the nations are the main migrant routes have lots of patrol assets already 1000 extra bods will make no difference. And as for threats about them operating with out consent of the host nation the way the EU is at the moment the likelihood of that happening is very remote.

    More worrying real news is that in the UK “Special Branch” police are being moved from harbour surveillance and intelligence gathering to the inner cities next year.

    We already have small arms being smuggled into the south east. And there are French fisherman awaiting trial on people smuggling charges. Still at least we have a large number of patrol boats and roving shore patrols to keep an eye out……….um whoops no we don’t……

      • Well the occasional article on the poor state of our maritime security has started to appear in our press. Give it another summer and increasing problems at the Continental ports and I expect it to become a major scandal. Never mind the laughable situation at our airports. I think we Brits still think it is 19th century, water will keep us safe, and become Britannia rules the waves there in no need to patrol the moat . Our near neighbours on the Continent having had to take their landward security seriously extend that attitude towards their sea borders.

        As for this new border force operating without reference to borders well that has already come to grief. We have Berlin ignoring vast tracts of EU immigration and border “law” when it suits them, and then turning around to accuse others of breaking the same “law” when it suits them. This contrariness verging on hypocrisy at time of crisis is doing nothing but create further ill will.

        As for growing Border Force well I don’t really play fantasy fleet these days. We have no money so we are told; though we pay £19 billion into the EU and borrow £!2 bn to pay out in aid each year. I don’t think the Royal Navy (proper) is the appropriate agency, the word force these days seems to be a misnomer, if my readings and interaction with RN middle management are anything to go by. Anything beyond high doctrine, EW, and aircraft carriers and there is no appetite. Police numbers here are being slashed and so I can’t see the Home Office funding the 1500 or so personnel plus equipment we would need. Establishing a home guard to patrol shore side similar to that which Denmark has wouldn’t get off the ground so to speak due to funding; though I think it would attract more volunteers than abysmal re-organisation of our Army Reserve. Out on a limb if we could fund some boats it might be a good task for the Royal Marines. Then again that would fall foul of our chattering classes’ collective hubris. They would proclaim that we British don’t put troops on to our own (metaphorical) streets; odd really considering they like to ride roughshod over traditional British values at all other times. That cosy Peelian policing went out the window as soon as their class decided to open our borders to all and sundry out of a sense of white guilt and self interest (all those cheap East Europeans) doesn’t seem to cross their tiny minds. Gosh I do sound a bit jaundiced don’t I?

  2. Off on a tangent we mustn’t forget which country in the EU makes the best inshore “patrol” “inshore security” craft………

    ………starts with G ends in Y……….

  3. From a UK perspective I think our new OPV’s will be used to help secure our boarders.

    They will also come in handy, when we leave the EU, chasing Spanish fishing boats out of our fishing grounds.

    • No they won’t. When the new Rivers arrive they will replace the current ones The RN hasn’t enough crew to keep the older hulls. And even if they could a near 2000t OPV isn’t a 25m inshore patrol boat that can navigate down rivers and inlets manned by a crew who know the locality in some detail.

  4. Pingback: December Member Round-Up

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