Brussels – The European Union should beef up its border agency Frontex in the coming years, European Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Wednesday, calling for increasing the number of border guards from 1,200 to 10,000 by 2027.
Oettinger was presenting the European Commission’s proposal for the 2021-2027 EU budget, in which the commission identified spending on security and border protection as one of the bloc’s main priorities in the coming years.
Tripling funding for external border management
The proposal called for tripling funding for external border management, migration and asylum to reach 33 billion euros (39.6 billion dollars) in the upcoming seven-year funding cycle from the current 13 billion euros.
The could provide funding for 10,000 border guards by 2027.
“I believe this is a strong sign of Europe’s ability to act but also means that member states can then be asked to scale back their internal border protection mechanisms bit by bit,” Oettinger said.
“We need to know who is coming to us, we need to know the legal basis.”
European migrants crisis
Since the height of the European migrants crisis in 2015, EU member states have been divided over how to handle the flux of migrants arriving to the bloc.
While efforts to redistribute migrants have failed and caused acrimony between member states, EU countries do largely agree on the need to secure the bloc’s external borders.
The commission’s budget proposal will now be debated among EU member states in a long and likely fraught process. The countries will need to agree on the final budget with EU lawmakers also giving their consent.