EU creates first permanent border force

The EU on Friday formally established its first permanent border corps, which will enforce Frontex with 10,000 officers by 2027, news wires reported.The adoption by Member States means that the EU border and coast guard agency for Schengen area will have personnel wearing its uniform and on its payroll who can be deployed to the bloc's external borders to handle crises or general management. Frontex currently has up to 1,500 officers active at any time but they are seconded to the agency by Member States for short missions, along with ships and aircraft.

The EU regulation adopted Friday also expands the agency's mandate, which "will allow Frontex to play a bigger role in supporting member states in border control, on returns and in cooperating with third countries," said Maria Ohisalo, interior minister of Finland, which presently holds the EU's rotating presidency.

Frontex, whose headquarters is in Poland's capital Warsaw, has been called on to handle numerous migration situations, most notably in 2015 when a million asylum-seekers entered the EU, many of them Syrians fleeing war. While the number of migrants has fallen under a 2016 deal done with neighbouring Turkey, threats from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to "open the gates" once more have raised alarm in EU capitals.

Last month, Frontex launched its first recruitment drive for more than 700 border guards who will be operational in January 2021. "The agency will provide support at the request of the member state concerned or on its own initiative and in agreement with the member state concerned," the European Council said in a statement.

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