Press Release, The Federal Council, 17.05.2017
Federal Council adopts dispatch on European Border and Coast Guard
The proposed adoption of the regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard was positively received by the vast majority of participants during the consultation, and the Federal Council took note of the results today. A clear majority thus supports the strengthening of the protection of external borders and returns of illegally staying third-country nationals in the Schengen area.
Extension and strengthening of border protection
In view of the extraordinary migratory pressure suffered by the EU at its external borders in 2015 and the secondary migration that resulted in the Schengen area, several Schengen member states had to reintroduce controls at their internal borders. This showed that stronger support of the Schengen states is needed in particular in the case of external border controls in order to strengthen the Schengen area overall.
Consequently, the EU decided to extend and strengthen protection at the external borders. The main task is to implement European integrated border management in line with the principle of shared responsibility. This means that the Schengen states will retain primary responsibility for the management of their own external borders. At the same time, a stronger agency will be available to support them. This European Border and Coast Guard Agency will keep the name Frontex.
Rapid reaction pool for crisis situations
A swiftly deployable pool of border protection experts (rapid reaction pool) together with technical equipment will be available to the new agency. Should the external borders of a Schengen member state come under pressure, e.g. because of strong migratory pressure or cross-border crime, rapid reaction teams could be temporarily deployed to secure the borders either at the request of a Schengen state or by Council decision in agreement with the Schengen state concerned.
If the Schengen state in question refuses this support and the security of the Schengen area is compromised as a result, the other Schengen states can be authorised by the Council to reintroduce border checks at their internal borders as a last resort.
Support for repatriation
Frontex will also assume greater responsibility with regard to the return of migrants without a residence permit to their states of origin. The goal of the agency is to build up a holistic repatriation system and to use corresponding synergies. In particular, it will be tasked with helping Schengen states by coordinating, supporting and financing joint return operations or organising its own return operations from requesting Schengen states.
The Federal Customs Administration (FCA), and specifically the Border Guard (BG), which already operates a national contact point for Frontex, is responsible for the general implementation of the regulation in Switzerland. With regard to issues regarding returns, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) is responsible for implementation.
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