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Frontex: new improvements to prevent further deaths at sea


20 Feb 2014


Justice & Home Affairs
"This Regulation highlights the need to protect EU borders using an efficient system of border surveillance, respecting the principle of subsidiarity and reinforcing the need for more solidarity. By adding these rules, we will respond more effectively and will better prevent further deaths at sea. We are following the European Court of Justice ruling, replacing the current Decision and adopting this Regulation, which is a considerable improvement, in reasonable time”, said Rapporteur Carlos Coelho MEP following the vote in the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee on the proposal for a Regulation establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by Frontex.
“With this Regulation, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) will have the necessary rules to guarantee that its operations and activities are in line with fundamental rights standards and all acts committed during operations will be accountable through a report to be sent annually to the European Parliament”, he continued.
“Contrary to what many other political groups proposed, the EPP Group did not accept that every person would have to disembark on EU territory (especially if we take into account that we are not only talking about the Mediterranean region, but it could apply to any other region where a Frontex operation could take place). We managed to keep the possibility of disembarkation in third countries”, concluded Carlos Coelho.
Establishing mandatory rules in accordance with international law:
  • The new Regulation states that the emergency phases of search and rescue create a clear obligation for the participating units to engage and save lives;
  • It abolishes the possibility of ‘pushback’ on high seas, allowing only the possibility of ‘warning and ordering’ the vessel not to enter a Member State’s territorial waters. In the case that the vessel does enter the territorial waters or the contiguous zone, the Member State has the possibility to escort the vessel out of its waters;
  • Finally, it reinforces the Principle of Non-Refoulement which prohibits the rendering of a potential victim of persecution to their oppressor.
Frontex was set up to respond to the need to improve the integrated management of the external borders of the European Union. Although responsibility for the control and surveillance of external borders lies with Member States, it will facilitate the application of existing and future EU measures relating to the management of these borders.
The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee has adopted the trialogue agreement text of this very sensitive Report and will take it to plenary in April.
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 274 Members from 27 Member States.
MEP Contacts
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Press Contacts
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