The core of Juncker’s State of the Union speech: A federal border police

Police officers of European Border and Coast Guard stand on duty, during the official launch of the European Border and Coast Guard, in Kapitan Andreevo Check Point, on the borders of Bulgaria with Turkey, 6 October 2016. [Orestis Panagiotou]

Establishing a genuine European border police and turning the control of irregular migration into a community competence will be the core of Commission President’s Jean-Claude Juncker State of the Union speech on Wednesday (12 September), according to Spanish daily El País.

According to the Spanish daily, Juncker’s speech will come accompanied by the approval of several legislative projects, among which the creation of a true European Border and Coast Guard service, which will have new powers, held until now by the national authorities only.

The new service would have powers for intervening in third countries and participating in the return operations of irregular migrants.

Reportedly, such a proposal has been considered for years, but has never gone ahead due to the fierce resistance it raised in several countries, particularly the southern ones, who have been fearful of a cession of sovereignty on such a sensitive issue.

However, as El País writes, the Commission believes that the latest migration crisis, sparked by Italy’s refusal to allow the disembarkation of people rescued at sea, has shown that the management of migratory flows at national level is not working and must be replaced by a centralised management.

If it receives the go-ahead, the proposal will amount to a the tremendous leap in federalising foreign surveillance, El País writes, noting that the creation of Frontex in 2004 and its reinforcement in 2016 with the creation of a European border agency is still subject to the control of national authorities.

European sources reportedly acknowledge that as of Monday (10 September) the cooperation has not gone beyond coordination and information management.

European border agency inaugurated at Bulgaria-Turkey border

The EU launched its beefed-up border force today (6 October) in a rare show of unity at a symbolic location – the Bulgarian-Turkeis border guarded by a metal fence and razor wire.

The European Border and Coast Guard has about 1,500 border guards deployed and their intervention is subject to the request of the countries and to the collaboration with national forces, which in comparison total more than 100,000 border guards.

Brussels has already proposed to raise to 10,000 the European guard before 2020 and, with the proposal next Wednesday, it would provide it with a centralised command and broad powers.

Reportedly, Juncker will propose at the same time an improvement of legal emigration channels, with a view to facilitating entry into Europe through established and controlled channels.

But in this case the proposals are expected to be presented in the form of a communication, a format of a lower importance than the legislative project to beef up the borders.

Cyber ​​attacks

The Commission will also adopt measures to try to guarantee the fairness of the European elections of May 2019. Reportedly, Juncker plans to require social networks to remove fraudulent information in less than an hour after detection.

It is also planned to strengthen the surveillance on possible electronic interference in the powerful electoral machinery that will be launched between 23 and 26 May 2019, the four days in which the 705 members of the European Parliament will be elected.

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