EU members discuss common border police

Officials from Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Finland are meeting in Brussels on 15 October to discuss the possible creation of common European border police. The initiative to set up common border controls is part of the drive to improve the security of the EU’s external border in the perspective of its eastward expansion.

The EU is concerned that its future members in Central and Eastern Europe will not be able to ensure effective control of what is to become the Union’s future external border. The EU will become more vulnerable to illegal immigration when it expands by a dozen new Member States in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Belgian EU Presidency has not invited Britain and Ireland to the meeting because they chose to remain outside the Schengen area. Sweden, Denmark, Portugal and Greece have shown no interest in discussions on joint border police.

The officials will discuss how a common border police might be organised. Options include joint training, sharing equipment and best practice, harmonizing external EU border checkpoints, and setting up fully-integrated European border guard units.

 

The Amsterdam Treaty of 1997 conferred some powers in the justice and home affairs area to the EU, such as the Schengen area, and visa and asylum policies. However, Europol, the EU's law enforcement agency, has no power to effectively combat cross-border threats to the EU.

Germany, Italy and Austria have called for the setting-up of common EU border police forces. German Minister of the Interior Otto Schily believes that EU Member States should take joint responsibility for the EU's common borders in the long run.

 

The Belgian Presidency may put this common border control initiative on the agenda of the December summit in Laeken.

 

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