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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile Connect availability hits 2B

EU: Protecting victims’ rights from cartels and market abuses

Failing to see reality or deceiving the masses? The EU about poverty and social exclusion

#TwitterisblockedinTurkey and so is Erdogan

All talk but no action against fraudulent bankers

Court of Auditors: EU budget money is there to be spent not to create value

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Unprecedented Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction to Combat Climate Change

A Sting Exclusive: “The Chinese economy is steady and moving in the right direction”, Ambassador Yang of the Chinese Mission to EU underscores from Brussels

Can one FTA and 110 lobby meetings make the dirty oil clean in Europe?

European Youth Forum welcomes the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Union Code on Visas, however it does not go far enough

On Grexit: Incompetence just launched the historic Ultimatum that could open “pandora’s box”

Medical Doctors in Industry 4.0: pure science fiction

EU-US trade deal: Europe to Americanize its social model?

Finance for SMEs: Alternative supply mechanisms do exist

Cyprus Parliament says no to blackmail

Commission tries to solidify the EU statistical system

The EU seals CETA but plans to re-baptise TTIP after missing the 2016 deadline

Azeri natural gas will keep the EU warm soon

Parliament cuts own spending to facilitate agreement on EU budget

Europe must regain its place as world leader in digital technology

MWC 2016 LIVE: Under Armour learns from “robust community of data”

Irish Presidency: Not a euro more for EU budgets

Intel, Almunia and 1 billion euros for unfair potatoes

Will Europe be a different place this Monday?

Commission publishes the first report on the issuance of a Eurobond

A Sting Exclusive: “Junior Enterprises themselves carry out projects focusing on the environment”, JADE President Daniela Runchi highlights from Brussels

Galileo funding: A ‘small’ difference of €700 million

Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Macro-Financial Assistance: Europe’s way to control Ukraine?

The 28 EU leaders unable to start a relevant debate on migration and Brexit

What next after more sanctions against Russia, will the Ukrainian civil war end?

Is the West gradually losing Africa?

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is the moment for climate justice”, Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström claims from Brussels

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

European Court of Justice to Google: It is #righttobeforgotten but not #righttoberemembered

Draghi drafts a plan to donate more money to bankers, the era of ‘money for nothin’ is flourishing

Joris in Indonesia

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

A Sting Exclusive: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on South China Sea issue at the ASEAN Regional Forum

The EU Commission does nothing about the food retailing oligopoly

The issue of health literacy and how it affects European health policies

Education and Training: where do we stand in 2014?

EU to lead one more fight against climate change at G7 summit

Earthquake: Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena

Ukraine: Is there a political force able to undo the division?

EC v Samsung: A whole year to compile a case

Arlington, USA: kick-off of the fifth round of the EU-US boxing match

Vendor Pulse – 2000

Draghi indirectly accuses Germany of using double standards in financial issues

Europe’s richest regions actively seek investment from China’s biggest banks

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Changing the Face of Europe

The Ecofin Council creates officially the clan of ‘undead’ banks

Forget about growth without a level playing field for all SMEs

How China Mended My Heart

A new global financial crisis develops fast; who denies it?

European Business Summit 2014: Sting Report, Day I

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Launch of CREWS, climate risk & early warning systems

The EU threatens to occupy Libya militarily; is another colonial war brewing?

Britain heading to national schism on exit from EU

Why growth is now a one way road for Eurozone

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