Brussels Looks To Joint EU Coastguard As Fix That Will End Migrant Crisis By End Of The Year

Joint EU Coastguard
European Commission Photo

The European Commission is confident the migrant crisis will end, and there will be no more EU internal border controls by December of this year after the formation of a European coast guard to secure the Greek border.

The border controls that have been systematically introduced member state by member state across the EU may come to an end as early as December the EU commission says. German media Zeit has leaked a preview of a report that says the commission will create a so called road map to ensure that the strained Schengen open borders agreement can return in full force across the union.

The commission assumes that Greece will be able to secure its maritime border with Turkey with the help of the Frontex EU border agency and cooperation with coastguards from across the EU which will together form an independent European Border and Coast Guard by autumn.

While the commission has not confirmed the information obtained by German media it is said that this is simply because the report is not totally ready but should be released by Friday, according to a spokeswoman. The current border controls are within the scope of the Schengen agreement but can only be used for six months though have the option of extension for up to two years if “persistent serious shortcomings in controls at the external borders” endanger the Schengen area.

The road map itself sets a plan to implement controls at the external border of the union and in particular in Greece, where tens of thousands of migrants are currently stuck after the closure of the Macedonian border. On March 16 the commission will propose to reform the Dublin agreement that determines policy on accepting asylum seekers and may look at changing the rules on whether or not an asylum seeker must apply for asylum in the first EU country they come to. From now until April the 12th the commision will also undertake a study to determine the effectiveness of the Greek government in preventing migrants from entering the union illegally. In May they will then decide whether or not to extend internal border checks based on how well Greece is able to keep illegal migrants out.

The commission also notes a highly negative impact closed borders have on trade within the EU saying that they expect a 7 to 18 billion euro loss in economic activity per year the borders are closed or partially closed.

Many workers who commute back and forth across borders may have a tough time in large lines making them more unproductive and costing their employers. 1.7 million of these workers cross EU borders every day to go to work and it is estimated these costs alone could total between 2.5 to 4.5 billion euros.

These costs would be on top of the giant expenses the migrant crisis is already costing countries like Sweden who are expecting a cost of 40 times their annual defence budget to pay for the migrants coming to their country and Germany who are looking at a one billion euro bill for migrant healthcare costs alone.