Bigger budget, more staff, more powers approved by MEPs in vote
A vote that gives the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) unprecedented powers overwhelmingly passed in the European Parliament today – giving this opaque EU body unrivalled powers and unchecked accountability.
In plans which have been strongly criticised by the Left, FRONTEX will command a budget of €11.3 billion from 2021-2027, with the staff number rising from just 70 in 2016 to 10,000 operation agents by 2027 – making it the biggest agency in the EU.
Further, FRONTEX will maintain Fortress Europe: closing the EU’s borders, deporting as many people as possible and advancing the externalisation process to third countries.
All will be done with zero accountability or checks and balances – making it virtually impossible for member states to apply alternative models of border policy.
Commenting on the vote, Marina Albiol (Izquierda Unida, Spain) said:
“EU governments and the European Commission are responsible for the death of at least 18,297 people during the past five years in the Mediterranean. One day, they should be tried for these crimes. Their policies of closing borders, of pushing people to risk their lives at sea, have led to 10 people being murdered on average every day. The directive that’s been passed today is the direct result of these inhumane practices.”
“The European border and coast guard is a paramilitary force which will have up to 10,000 agents, and a two-billion euro budget per year. It will militarise our borders, carry out deportations and put migrants in detention centres.”
“It has become the militant branch of the European Commission, and its raison d’être is to prevent people from coming to Europe. The far right’s dream has finally come true thanks to the usual grand coalition agreement between the conservatives, social democrats and liberals,” she concluded.
Photo: A human chain organised by GUE/NGL for an alternative migration policy in Strasbourg in 2014 with names of all those who had died in the Mediterranean.