Powers of border control agency Frontex to be enhanced

Changes expected to come in effect this year end
14th September 2011:  The European Parliament has chose to step up the powers of the EU border control agency, Frontex, facilitating it to respond better to emergencies.
The sources assert the agency is now expected be able to position larger numbers of border guards, and more quickly, in response to crisis at the EU’s external frontiers.

The new arrangements are proposed to come in effect by the end of this year.

Frontex was set up six years ago to help strengthen the EU’s external frontier at the same time, as most internal borders in the Schengen zone were coming down.

Some Mediterranean EU states struggling with illegal immigration have accused the agency of being unproductive. Frontex is also assumed to appoint an inspector to make sure respect for human rights.

French Socialist MEP, Sylvie Guillaume, condemning member states of a tendency not to enforce rules on respect for human right has welcomed the move to ensure respect for human rights.

Human rights groups have been left worried by the handling of migrants, many of whom have been kept in overcrowded holding centres.

Frontex is also expected to recruit a fundamental rights officer and set up a consultative forum on fundamental rights.

 European Parliament said in a press release that the agency will include EU, UN and non-governmental bodies on the rights of asylum-seekers.

The new rules were passed by MEPs in Strasbourg by 431 votes to 49, with 48 abstentions.

Frontex, itself has no standing force of border guards but borrows them from member states. As per BBC report from Strasbourg, the agency will have new powers to necessitate countries to contribute.

It is also believed to be able to own or rent its own equipment, again instead of borrowing from members, and will thus be able to deploy more quickly.

As per the reports this however, depends on Frontex being granted more money in next year’s EU budget, which is far from being guaranteed.

Southern member countries have disputed that northern states should add more to the task of patrolling the external borders. The BBC adds this is because countries like Germany, Britain and France are the proposed destinations of most of those who make the crossing from Africa or from Turkey to Greece.

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