The Commission proposal which was adopted by the Parliament today gives the impression of a coast guard that will save lives of people in danger at sea. By contrast, GUE/NGL MEPs have highlighted that the agency's main task will be border control and deporting refugees from Europe.

GUE/NGL Shadow Rapporteur, Marina Albiol, told the Parliament: “So far this year over 3,000 people have died in the Mediterranean while trying to come to Europe. Many others have been deported to Turkey or turned back at borders.”

“Rather than taking the necessary measures to avoid these tragedies, such as creating safe and legal pathways for refugees into Europe through humanitarian visas and complying with international law, instead we see FRONTEX being turned into the new European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

Albiol outlined the problems with some of the substantive elements of the Commission's proposal: “The Agency will be able to intervene in different member states to close borders, even without the consent of the state concerned.”

“It will take migrants' fingerprints and other personal data – treating them like criminals.

“It's a deportation agency, sending people back to bombs and starvation so that they don’t set foot in Europe.

“There is no democratically elected political authority for this agency, there is no transparency and no respect for human rights.

“This is one more step in the racist policy direction that the European Union has been engaging in for too long.”

Swedish MEP, Malin Björk, added: ''This proposition to militarise the external borders of the EU has been around for some time, and we have always stopped it for the good of the European Union.''

''This is the worst aspect of EU cooperation: at our common borders we are blocking the route for those who try to come here as refugees, failing to provide shelter and show solidarity with people fleeing from wars and conflicts. We do not accept this kind of Europe.''

“Many people feel that this new proposal is like creating a SUPERFRONTEX. It's a huge step in the wrong direction,” Björk concluded.

The Parliament adopted the Commission's European Border and Coast Guard Agency proposal with 483 votes for, 181 votes against and 48 abstentions.

GUE/NGL and Greens/EFA MEPs tabled a rejection amendment with the aim of overturning this Commission  proposal, however, this was not adopted by the vast majority of MEPs.

In addition, the Parliament also adopted two legislative reports today to make the financial, technical and human resources of the European Maritime Safety Agency and the European Fisheries Control Agency fully available for border control tasks.


GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Nikki Sullings  +33 3881 76723 / +32 483 03 55 75

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

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