EU to manage external borders against the will of member states; Greece to be the first target

On 16/12/2015 First Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights pictured here, participated in the plenary session of the European Parliament which focused on the preparation of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 December 2015. Frans Timmermans and Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, then gave a joint press conference on the adoption by the EC of substantial measures setting out a common approach to managing Europe's external borders and preserving the security of the internal Schengen area of free movement. (EC Audiovisual Services, Date: 14/12/2015 Location: Strasbourg – European Parliament, © European Union, 2015 / Photo: Jean-François Badias).

On 16/12/2015  Frans Timmermans First Vice-President of the European Commission pictured here, participated in the plenary session of the European Parliament which focused on the preparation of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 December 2015. Timmermans and Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, then gave a joint press conference on the adoption by the EC of substantial measures setting out a new approach to managing Europe’s external borders. (EC Audiovisual Services, Date: 14/12/2015 Location: Strasbourg – European Parliament, © European Union, 2015 / Photo: Jean-François Badias).

Last Tuesday 15 December the European Commission adopted a groundbreaking proposal for the establishment of a powerful European Border and Coast Guard to ensure strong management of the Schengen area external borders and better administration of immigration flows. According to the Commission, this Guard should be able to intervene with or without the consent of the concerned member state. The target is to effectively secure the external borders, so as the free movement of people to continue completely unhindered within the Schengen area.

The Schengen area agreement was signed in 1985 by five EU member states and since then it has been endorsed by all but four EU countries. It provided for an internally borderless area of free movement of people. Britain and Ireland chose not to participate, while Bulgaria and Romania applied but were rejected and still are candidate countries. There are also other European countries, non EU members, which participate in it (Switzerland, Norway and Iceland).

Timmermans puts it bluntly

Commission first Vice-President Frans Timmermans during a Press conference on Tuesday afternoon said that this new Border and Coast Guard will be able to take action, “even against the will of member states” and he added that “this may not happen very often”. Timmermans is well-known about his blunt statements. This time he used this tough phrasing for obvious reasons. He knows that despite the urgency and the political impasse with the immigration problem, this proposal for central action “against the will of member states” is a step too far, and the Commission first Vice President wants to make sure everybody understands that the Commission is adamant about it.

Of course the Commission proposal has to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council. As things stand now the Legislative appears rather ready to endorse with a majority vote this new and powerful Border and Coast Guard. In the European Council however the Commission proposal has to be approved in unanimity. Only then the European Union will be legitimized to send Border and Coast Guard teams to a country without her consent.

There are more tough proposals

There are more tough items in the Commission proposal though. A “European Return Office” will be established to allow for the deployment of “European Return Intervention Teams composed of escorts, monitors and return specialists”. These officials will work to “effectively return illegally staying in the EU third country nationals. A standard European travel document for return will ensure a wider acceptance of returnees by third countries”. One can easily imagine that all that would very likely entail the use of strong police action or even the deployment of military forces. To be noted that the national border and coastal guards, which will make up the EU Guard, are military bodies.

The Commission also proposes that the EU citizens themselves would undergo tougher checks and controls while entering or exiting the Schengen area. “A targeted modification of the Schengen Borders Code will introduce mandatory systematic checks of EU citizens at external land, sea, and air borders. Obligatory checks on EU citizens will be introduced against databases such as the Schengen Information System, the Interpol Stolen and Lost Travel Documents Database and relevant national systems, in order to verify that persons arriving do not represent a threat to public order and internal security”.

Scrutinizing the EU citizens too

The proposal also reinforces “the need to verify the biometric identifiers in the passports of EU citizens in case of doubts on the authenticity of the passport or on the legitimacy of the holder. Checks will now also be mandatory when exiting the European Union”. In short all those measures are reminiscent of George Orwell’s ‘1984’ nightmare. For one thing who will “verify that persons arriving do not represent a threat to public order and internal security”. And mind you this is about EU citizens not immigrants or refugees.

Reportedly, the driving powers behind this new Commission initiative are Germany and France, the two leading EU member states, which make up the authoritative ‘directorate’ of the EU. Understandably, despite the fact that urgent and vigorous action is needed in view of the unseen before immigration flows in the EU, there are member states which appear very skeptical about the institutionalization of a centrally controlled Border and Coast Guard.

New sovereignty concessions

The whole thing comes to the concession of a critical part of national sovereignty to Brussels. Especially the advertised by Timmermans Guard interference ‘against the will of the concerned member state’, will be very difficult for a number of European capitals to swallow. As a matter of fact Greece, the country that is currently accused by everybody for letting the immigrant flows choke Europe, found it very difficult to even ask for help from Frontex. This last European service intervenes unarmed in the supervision of external EU borders, after the concerned member state asks for it. Compared with the new heavily armed Guard, Frontex is an easily palatable Brussels scheme that the Eurosceptic political groups have tolerated.

However, as they say every crisis, along with the problems it creates it also offers opportunities. In this case, if this new Commission initiative is endorsed by the Parliament and the Council will constitute a giant step forward, towards the political union of the EU. The problem is thought that the Eurosceptic political forces may use it, as an additional argument against the entire EU project, on the grounds of it being an unacceptable compromise of national sovereignty.

Who will be the first

In any case the first country to be targeted by the new Guard will be Greece, the member state that made this change to be considered as necessary. The country however is haunted by a large number of EU interventions in its economic and social policies. Now an unsolicited Brussels involvement, accompanied by a possible cooperation between EU and Turkish coast guards in the shores of the Aegean Islands, may be the last drop in an already full glass. Athens may explode under additional pressures from Berlin and Paris, over an issue touching not only its national sovereignty but Greece’s national integrity too.

In any case the Commission is now promoting its plan and yesterday Wednesday 16/12/2015 presented it in the European Parliament. The crash test for it though will be today and tomorrow at the European Council meeting of the 28 heads of government and states.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Me and China

European Investment Bank to borrow €70 billion in 2013

China confirms anti-state-subsidy investigation on EU wine imports

Dutch voters reject EU-Ukraine partnership and open a new pandora’s box for the EU

The EU Parliament endorses tax on financial transactions

EU’s guidelines on net neutrality see the light although grey areas do remain

European Commissioner for Youth wants young people to be at heart of policy making

Parliament sets up plan to fight the 3,600 criminal rings of EU

EU migrant crisis: Germany, France and UK to show the way. Will the rest of the EU follow?

Bundesbank’s President Weidmann criticises France and the EU. Credibility at risk?

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

Eurozone in trouble after Nicosia’s ‘no’

A Sting Exclusive: “Without climate, forget about peace!”, Swedish MEP Bodil Valero cautions from Brussels

Economic recovery won’t tackle youth unemployment problem

Eurozone to enter the winter…

Will ECB win against low inflation by not following Quantitave Easing?

The Chinese spirit

Why did Cameron gain absolute majority? What will he do now? Will he vote ‘yes’ in Britain’s in – out EU referendum?

Presentation of Juncker’s Investment Plan: Can 315 billion euros save the EU?

YO!FEST ENGAGES 8,000 YOUNG EUROPEANS IN FUTURE OF EU

Eurozone officials play with people’s deposits and minds

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Why Eurozone’s problems may end in a few months

Eurozone recession subsides

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

EU will not deliver on promises without democratic accountability

South Eurozone urgently needs fairer distribution of taxation burden

All talk but no action against fraudulent bankers

Eurozone: Statistics don’t tell the whole story

Crimea, a wicked game of political chess and a ‘big’ coincidence

European Youth Forum welcomes strong stance on human rights in State of the Union

US, Russia oblige each other in Syria and Ukraine selling off allies

Can the world take the risk of a new financial armageddon so that IMF doesn’t lose face towards Tsipras?

European Employment Forum 2013 and not European Unemployment Forum 2014

Glaringly false reassurances about the repercussions of the EU-US free trade agreement

European Banking Union: no one is perfect

Europe united in not supporting a US attack on Syria

Commission challenges Council over EU 2014 budget

Data show EU Economy in a stubbornly subdued state

IMF to teach Germany a Greek lesson

The West definitively cuts Russia off from the developed world

The impossible end of the war in Syria

Why do medical students need to go abroad to become a doctor in 2017?

The Swiss will pay dearly for voting out fellow Europeans

What the world will look like after the Iran and 5+1 deal; the US emerges as major power broker in Middle East

Zhua Zhou: Choosing The Future

Macron plans for Europe, Brexit and banks but vague on France

Will the outcome of the UK referendum “calm” the financial markets?

The West and Russia took what they wanted from Ukraine

“CETA is a game changer for major trade agreements”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

GREXIT final wrap-up: nobody believed Aesop’s boy who cried wolf so many times

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Children Will Bear the Brunt of Climate Change: UNICEF

Why medicine is relevant to the battle against climate change

The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

ECB embarks on the risky trip to Eurozone banking universe

MWC 2016 LIVE: Freemium MVNO model a success, claims FreedomPop head

The Sting’s Mission

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s