On Thursday, 21st April 2016, the EU Council (Justice and Home Affairs configuration) is set to address issues related to European border security and migration. Legislative items in the provisional agenda include the creation of a European Border and Coast Guard, and proposals to integrate European information architecture in areas of border security and management, following the Brussels attacks.
This new European Border Guard, according to available information, will consist of the already existing Frontex (with expanded tasks) together with national border management authorities.
The European Border and Coast Guard’s primary objective is:
“To ensure and implement, as a shared responsibility, European integrated border management at the external borders with a view to managing migration effectively and ensuring a high level of security within the EU, while safeguarding freedom of movement within the EU.”
The new agency is part of a wider legislative initiative from the Commission submitted in December 2015. The European Parliament will be brought into the negotiations as soon as it adopts its position but the EU Council requested in February 2016 that a political agreement is reached before the end of the Dutch presidency of the Council in June 2016.
On the other hand, the Commission presented in early April 2016 a Communication entitled “Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for Border Security”. In this new proposal, the Commission suggests, among other items, to implement a new centralised border management system (EES, Entry-Exit System) by 2020, on top of the already existing Schengen Information System, Visa Information System and EURODAC system, which collects fingerprint data of asylum applicants and third-country nationals who have crossed the external borders “irregularly”.
The Commission states that through this initiative it seeks to address the “shortcomings in the functionalities of existing systems” as well as tackling the fragmentation of the EU’s architecture of data management for border control and security. Moreover, the Commission seeks to do so in “full respect of fundamental rights and data protection rules”.