a bitter melon

Frontex to become the European Border and Coast Guard Agency

EurActiv -- Super-Frontex approved, acclaimed and decried (Jul 7, 2016)

The European Parliament endorsed today (7 July) the Commission’s proposal to establish a European Border and Coast Guard Agency, beefing up the existing Frontex, a move acclaimed by the major political groups, but decried by the Greens and the leftist GUE/NGL because of its new powers.

It's always important to quote the Daily Express because their hysteric reporting makes everybody else seem sane:

Daily Express -- END OF SCHENGEN? MEPs vote to bring BACK border controls as free movement FAILS (Jul 7, 2016)

In a bid to minimise the effects of the migration crisis on Europe MEPs agreed to replace the union’s border agency, Frontex, with a new European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCG), which will be granted more powers.

The passport-free Schengen area - which the UK is not part of - has been blamed on allowing terrorists, people traffickers and economic migrants to travel freely across the continent.

Terrorists! People traffickers! Economic migrants! -- wait what?

teleSUR considers we have Brexit and the terrorists to thank for the speedy approval of the new European Border and Coast Guard Agency:

teleSUR -- EU Will Create Its Own Autonomous Border Control Force (Jul 7, 2016)

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency will add 1,500 guards to be deployed on a situational basis to “support, monitor and, when necessary, reinforce the national border guards, focusing primarily on early detection and prevention of weaknesses in the management of the external borders,” said a statement from European Parliament on Wednesday.

The agency, proposed in Dec. 2015 after the Commission proposed it to deal with the surge in refugee arrivals, will constitute “a truly collective European management of our borders, based on the principle that security of our common EU external borders is a responsibility shared amongst all EU countries,” the statement said. “The external border of one Member State is the external border of all Member States.”

Parliament had concerns about the agency’s ability to bypass a member state’s consent in order to intervene, but recent terrorist attacks and Britain’s vote to leave the EU has made Brussels more weary about immigration policy.

Greece is hoping the Agency will bring relief:

H KAΘHMEPINH -- EU parliament backs new border force (Jul 6, 2016)

Seeking to stem the uncontrolled influx of people into the European Union, the European Parliament on Wednesday approved the creation of a new joint European border and coast guard agency to replace Frontex in a bid to reinforce the management and security of its borders.

The new agency will also have the power to act pre-emptively so as to avoid a repeat of the recent refugee crises. It will be based on the existing structures of Frontex and is expected to be operational in September.

“This is the Europe of responsibility, solidarity and action,” said European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, who expressed satisfaction that a proposal he made six months ago is finally becoming a reality.

The creation of the new body also helps to firmly establish a long-held Greek position that its borders are Europe’s borders.

Because the strain on Greece is such that Spiegel calls it "purgatory":

Spiegel Online -- European Purgatory: Migrant Smugglers Helping Refugees Return to Turkey (Jun 30, 2016)

The closure of the Balkan route has left tens of thousands of refugees stranded in Greece with nowhere to go. Smugglers who once profited from sneaking migrants deeper into Europe are now offering a new service: A way back to Turkey.


In late March, the EU and Turkey reached an agreement to stem the flow of migrants traveling across the Aegean Sea to Europe. A few weeks prior, Mahmud had climbed into a smuggler's rubber dinghy with his sister Selma and little brother Yilmaz in the Turkish port city of Izmir. Initially, they had wanted to go to Lesbos and then on to Germany, from where Mahmud planned to send for his wife and newborn child once he arrived. What he didn't know was that Macedonia had already closed the route north through the Balkans. Like so many others, Mahmud was stranded in Idomeni, a village on the Greek-Macedonian border.

The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has called Idomeni a "disgrace for EU countries." Some 14,000 migrants lived there for months in tents, starving and freezing and the police quashed uprisings with batons and tear gas. In late May, the Greek government cleared the camp and Mahmud moved into the "Hotel Hara," a camp set up in a motel parking lot a few kilometers outside Idomeni.

Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri says "Turkey delivered": -- Frontex-Chef: „Europa braucht eine glaubwürdige Grenze“

Im Jahr 2015 erreichten nach Frontex-Zahlen etwa 900.000 Migranten die Europäische Union über das östliche Mittelmeer – siebzehn Mal mehr als im Vorjahr. Insbesondere die Route über das Ägäische Meer zwischen dem EU-Mitgliedsland Griechenland und der Türkei wurde dabei zu einem Brennpunkt der Flüchtlingskrise in Europa. Angesichts dieser Umstände bezeichnete Frontex-Chef Fabrice Leggeri auf dem Dahrendorf Symposium den „Rückgewinn von Kontrolle über unsere Außengrenze“ als dringend notwendig für die Europäische Union. Der Franzose leitet die in Warschau ansässige EU-Grenzschutzagentur als Executive Director seit 2015.


Das Flüchtlingsabkommen zwischen der EU und der Türkei, das im März 2016 vereinbart wurde und die Rücknahme irregulärer Migranten durch die Türkei vorsieht, bezeichnet Fabrice Leggeri als Erfolg: „Die Türkei hat bisher geliefert“. Die Zahl der über die Ägäische See in der EU ankommenden Flüchtlinge und Migranten ist im April 2016 nach Angaben von Frontex um 90 Prozent gesunken.

Since the refugee swap deal with Turkey, the Mediterrean routes have again grown in popularity:

Deutsche Welle -- Italy rescues 4,500 migrants in one day (Jul 5, 2016)

A single Italian patrol vessel on Tuesday saved more than 1,100 people from a stricken wooden boat and five rubber dinghies en route from North Africa to Sicily, Italy's Coast Guard said on Tuesday.

The Italian interior ministry said last week that more than 70,000 people arrived by boat between January and June this year - almost the same number from the same period in 2015, and slightly higher than the number of arrivals in 2014.

More than 3,700 migrants died while attempting to make the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to Europe last year, according to the International Organization for Migration. It said most of the boats set off from Libya and Egypt.

While some people make money:

Reuters -- Netmedia unit signs deal with Frontex (Jun 15, 2016)

Netmedia SA :

  • Said on Tuesday that its unit, eTravel SA, signed a deal under the won open tender announced by Frontex for travel related services (booking transport and hotels)
  • The estimated, by Frontex, value of orders is between 7.5 million euros ($8.4 million) and 8.5 million euros in period of up to 4 years of cooperation

Not everyone does: