A new law employing 10,000 new Border and Coast guards to protect the European Union’s external borders, has been approved by the EU’s LIBE Committee
The law which is based on the proposals within the ‘Metsola Report’ and led by MEP Roberta Metsola, finally got the go-ahead from the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE).
According to the proposals, the new Border and Coast Guards will be empowered to ‘fight cross-border crime and deal with individuals who are not eligible to enter the EU’s borders.’ The report is also understood to equip these authorities ‘to stop any possible criminal actions taking place at the external borders.’
The new force will be supported by a €11.3 billion budget afforded through the EU budgeting period between 2021 and 2027 as well as the creation of field offices within EU member states like Malta to better coordinate operations in the EU’s border regions.
Speaking after the committee approved the report, MEP Roberta Metsola said, ‘Malta and Gozo’s location at the southern border of the European Union makes it vulnerable to challenges such as cross-border crime and irregular migration. Europe has a real-added value in this area. The new law which I guided through the European Parliament will tackle this. In all of this my guiding principle has been to be fair with those in need of protection, firm with those who do not, and harsh with those who seek to exploit the most vulnerable.’
Metsola is now expected to commence negotiations with EU Council on the law and individual EU member states.
‘Different Member States have different challenges, and I know it will not be easy to convince mainland countries to invest in countries at the borders. Complexity is not something I have ever shied away from and I am confident we will be able to convince Member States to put their money where their mouth is and understand that safe external borders means a safer and more secure European Union. Citizens trusted us to deliver results, and I am determined to see this through to benefit not only everyone in Malta and Gozo, but everyone in our Union.’, the MEP said.
It is expected that the law will formally pass before the European Parliamentary Elections in May.