21 November 2018
Draft reports have recently been produced by the LIBE committee's rapporteurs for three crucial legislative files: on future security budgets (the Internal Security Fund and Integrated Border Management Fund, to run from 2021-27); and the proposed new rules to revamp and massively strengthen the EU border and coast guard agency, Frontex.
The reports set out the rapporteurs' positions on the proposals made by the Commission. Other MEPs will now submit proposals for amendments to the draft reports, before a final version is adopted prior to the Parliament entering negotiations with the Council.
Internal Security Fund
Rapporteur: Monika Hohlmeier (European People's Party)
European Commission: Proposal for a Regulation establishing the Internal Security Fund (COM(2018) 472 final) and: Annexes (pdfs)
The Commission proposed a budget of €2.5 billion for the Internal Security Fund (ISF), an increase of €1.5 billion over the current (2014-20) budget. Alongside other internal security budgets, the foreseen increase is from €3.5 billion to €4.8 billion.
According to the Commission's press release:
"The reinforced ISF will have 3 new objectives focusing on: (1) increasing the exchange of information between EU law enforcement authorities; (2) intensifying cross-border joint operations; and (3) strengthening capabilities to combat and prevent crime, and to tackle radicalisation. This will support Member States in a more flexible and effective way to deliver on priority security areas: the fight against terrorism and radicalisation; serious and organised crime; cybercrime; and the protection of victims of crime."
Integrated Border Management Fund
DRAFT REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing, as part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, the instrument for financial support for border management and visa (pdf)
Rapporteur: Tanja Fajon (Socialists & Democrats)
European Commission: Proposal for a Regulation establishing, as part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, the instrument for financial support for border management and visa (COM(2018) 473 final) and: Annexes to the proposal (pdf)
When it announced the Integrated Border Management Fund, the Commission said:
"For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission proposes to almost triple funding for migration and border management to €34.9 billion, as compared to €13 billion in the previous period.
The Commission's proposal is a response to increased migratory, mobility and security challenges, with more flexible funding instruments to address unforeseen migratory events and border protection at the core of the new budget. A new separate fund for integrated border management will be created and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will be further strengthened with a new standing corps of around 10,000 border guards. The new border fund will also help Member States carry out customs controls by financing customs control equipment."
Customs control equipment is dealt with under a seperate proposal.
The explanatory memorandum attached to the draft report notes:
"The Rapporteur considers that the objectives of the proposed instrument focus excessively on the security and do not take account of the need to facilitating legitimate travel. The vast majority of people crossing the external borders nowadays are, in fact, legitimate bona fide travellers entering the Union with or without a visa, representing very little to the security of the Union as a whole.
Stemming from the objectives of the Instrument, the Rapporteur considers it important to ensure a fair and transparent distribution of funding between both main objectives of the Fund. With that in mind, the Rapporteur believes more emphasis should be put on more positive actions and measures of integrated border management, such as on visa policy, and not merely on security. It is therefore prudent to ensure a minimum level of funding for the common visa policy."
DRAFT REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Council Joint Action n°98/700/JHA, Regulation (EU) n° 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EU) n° 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council (pdf)
Rapporteur: Roberta Metsola (European People's Party)
European Commission: Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard (COM(2018) 631 final)
Frontex, known-formally as the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCGA), is also to be reinforced - just two years after its legal basis was last altered.
The explanatory statement attached to the draft report says:
"The Rapporteur proposes a number of amendments that should enable the Agency to better achieve its enhanced objectives. It is crucial that the Agency has the necessary border guards and equipment at its disposal whenever this is needed and especially that it is able to deploy them within a short timeframe when necessary.
As regards the EBCG standing corps (Article 55), the Rapporteur is proposing the addition of a fourth category of operational staff from Member States for the sole purpose of rapid border interventions which will be placed at the immediate disposal of the Agency and which can be deployed from each Member State within five working days... The total number of staff made available by the Member States, for category four shall amount to a 3.000.
With regards to the Integrated Border Management (IBM), (Articles 3 and 8), the Rapporteur, proposes that the multiannual strategic policy cycle for the IBM shall define the policy priorities and provide the strategic guidelines for a period of four years in relation to the sectorial and horizontal components where the European Parliament and the Council shall be involved. The Rapporteur is proposing that fundamental rights, education and training, and research and innovation shall be horizontal components that are to be present in every sectorial component during its implementation.
...On return interventions (Article 54), the Rapporteur proposes that all the necessary safeguards linked to return interventions in third countries should be ensured. Therefore the Rapporteur proposes a number of fundamental rights safeguards, which will ensure that the Agency is not involved in unsafe return interventions."
Further reading and documentation
"A reinforced Frontex, a new European Asylum Agency, more measures against online terrorist content, a strengthened European Public Prosecutor's Office, lowering the standards in the Returns Directive and changes to decision-making in foreign policy were just some of the security and migration-related proposals announced in the 'State of the Union' speech given by European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, on 12 September."
"The European Commission has published its proposals for the EU home affairs budgets for the period 2021-2027, with the aim of increasing the internal security budget by €1.3 billion to €4.8 billion, and tripling the funding for border security and migration to €34.9 billion."
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