Council steps up measures on the control of borders

On 27 November, EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers welcomed the proposal on the setting up of a Border Management Agency and adopted a programme on the control of the EU’s maritime borders.

On 27 november, EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers adopted conclusions on the proposal to set up a Border Management Agency. (For more information on the function of this Agency, seeEURACTIV, 12 November 2003). Ministers envisaged the possibility of extending the tasks of the agency at a later stage and expressed their wish to see the Agency in a position to start its activities from 1 January 2005 onwards.

The Council also adopted a programme of measures to tighten controls at the EU's maritime borders. The programme foresees operations in order to stop illegal immigrants trying to reach the EU by sea. It also contains proposals for the treatment of illegal immigrants found on board vessels which have been intercepted.

In addition, Ministers discussed the integration of two biometric identifiers (digital photo and fingerprints) in the visas and residence permits of third country nationals. The October European Council called on the ministers to find an agreement on this issue by the end of 2003 in order to have biometric identifiers in visas and residence permits by 2005.


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