Minister gives qualified support to Frontex reform

The European Commission has proposed to boost the number of Frontex external border guards and extend the agency’s scope of activity. Photo: PAP/Darek Delmanowicz

Interior Minister Joachim Brudziński expressed his support for the idea of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency's reform while questioning some of its aspects.

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European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), founded in 2005, is an EU agency tasked with border control of the Schengen Area in coordination with the border and coast guards of member states.

The European Commission, with the support of several countries, has proposed to boost the number of Frontex external border guards from 1,500 at present to 10,000 by 2020. Also to be extended is the agency’s scope of activity. Reforms propose that guards operating within Frontex would be, to a great extent, able to decide on admittance to the Schengen zone.

'The devil is in the details'

These ideas are contested by some states, including Poland. Among disputed issues is not only the cost of boosting the Frontex personnel, but also the prospect of states losing control over their border security.

“It is unacceptable for us to have supranational guards deciding on our borders. It may lead to a situation where an individual deemed a threat to national security is admitted into our country”, Interior Minister Joachim Brudziński told the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

Mr Brudziński looks favourably at the idea of reforming Frontex, but says “the devil is in the details.”

“We cannot approve any proposals that transfer border control to the Frontex guards and place them above the Polish border control agencies.”

The Minister also contested the European Commission’s plan to strengthen the powers of the European Asylum Support Office, intended to facilitate the asylum application procedure. With the host state’s approval, the office is to be a decision-making body on granting asylum.

However, Mr Brudziński expressed his reservations. “We do not agree with treating illegal migration the same as legal migration. Our position on this has been clear for a long time.”