Estonia does not support strengthening Frontex at expense of border guards

An Estonian border guard at the country's border in Southeastern Estonia.
An Estonian border guard at the country's border in Southeastern Estonia. Source: Tauno Tõhk/Government Office

Estonia supports the proposal of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, also known as Frontex, but the Ministry of the Interior is of the opinion that this cannot be done at the expense of individual member states' existing border guards.

"The Ministry of the Interior supports Juncker's initiative, but this idea definitely requires specification," Janek Mägi, director of the Ministry of the Interior's Border Guard Policy Department, told BNS. "This is also Estonia's wish and objective so that the EU's border guard is strengthened."

Mägi noted, however, that the ministry is of the opinion that the strengthening of Frontex cannot come at the expense of member states' existing resources.

"Strengthening and manning [Frontex] with up to 10,000 border guards should be an additional capacity in addition to member states' existing border guards," he said.

Last week, Juncker called for the strengthening of Frontex by sending 10,000 more border guards to tackle unlawful immigration by 2020.

"The European Commission is today [12 September] proposing to further strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard to better protect our external borders with an additional 10,000 European border guards funded by the EU budget by 2020," Juncker said in his State of the Union address in Strasbourg on 12 September.

Frontex currently has approximately 1,500 border guard officials at its disposal. In comparison, the respective border guards of the EU's member states employ a total of 100,000 people.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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