EU to boost border protection
The EU Commission wants to expand Frontex and give it a stronger mandate. It presented its plans on Tuesday in Strasbourg. In future the agency will be able to deploy border protection forces even against the will of individual member states. Some commentators see the strengthening of this body as long overdue. For others the goal of sealing Europe off is an illusion.
No success without a common immigration policy
The strengthening of EU border protection was long overdue but it won't be enough to save the Union, the liberal business paper L'echo warns: "When the states established Frontex they didn't have any major ambitions. ... Frontex is a pro-forma organisation that has only just managed to stop the gaps. Now, driven by the pressure of migration, terrorism and the rise of the far right, Europe is starting to move. It has its back to the wall and no longer has a choice. Either there will be more joint policies or this will be the end of the European Union. Yesterday the Commission proposed to replace Frontex with an agency that has real powers. It will be equipped with a rapid response force of 1,500 men put at its disposal by the member states according to the needs. This is not yet a 100 percent European border guard, but it's a step in the right direction. However it will only really make sense if it is accompanied by a true joint migration policy."
At last EU is listening to Eastern Europe
At last the EU Commission has realised that Europe's outer borders need proper protection, the conservative daily Lidové noviny writes with relief: "As always the devil is in the detail. Will the border guards be deployed despite the opposition of European states? This is what countries like Poland fear. But perhaps the bar is being set so high so that it can be lowered again at some point. However, the key fact here is that countries join Schengen voluntarily, well aware that in doing so they give up part of their sovereignty. … For a long time we were told that Schengen was at risk because of our resistance to refugee quotas rather than because of inadequate protection of the EU outer borders, as the Visegrád states in particular have always stressed. … We were told that if we wanted to continue being part of the West we would have to adopt Germany's 'welcome culture' and distance ourselves from Hungary, which has insisted on border protection. But now all of a sudden the EU Commission is adopting the 'non-Western' viewpoint."
New Frontex remains an illusion
The hopes that a new force on the EU's outer borders will stem the influx of refugees won't be fulfilled, predicts the public-service news website tagesschau.de: "Frontex stands for the unspoken 'close bulkheads' hope of the struggling refugee hotspots Germany, Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands. Like a magic army the revamped Frontex border protection force is to be deployable at all times and everywhere on the EU outer borders. … But thanks to the joint resistance of Greece and the Eastern European countries this special force will never come into being. … The Frontex super-force will remain an illusion, a fata morgana. Europe's borders will remain porous. And for that reason we face the prospect of internal border controls in the EU."