European Border and Coast Guard Agency officially launched

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency has been officially launched during a ceremony held at the Kapitan Andreevo Border Checkpoint at the Bulgarian external border with Turkey.

Launched within a year after it was first proposed by the European Commission, the agency will be closely monitoring the European Union’s (EU) external borders. It will be fully rolled out over the next coming months.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Today is a milestone in the history of European border management. From now onwards, the external EU border of one Member State is the external border of all Member States – both legally and operationally.

“In less than one year we have established a fully-fledged European Border and Coast Guard system, turning into reality the principles of shared responsibility and solidarity among the Member States and the Union.

“This is exactly the European response that we need for the security and migration challenges of the 21st century.”

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency will work together with Member States to quickly identify and address any potential security threats to the EU's external borders.

The agency will also be responsible to ensure implementation of EU standards of border management through periodic risk analysis and mandatory vulnerability assessments.

Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico said: “This is a tangible outcome of the joint commitment agreed in the Bratislava Roadmap, as well as a practical display of unity among Member States. It will help us to get back to Schengen.”

The Schengen area is currently without internal borders. The new agency will now work towards bringing the functioning of the area to normal and lift temporary internal border controls by the end of the year.