As of Thursday Bulgaria starts to play an increasingly important role in protecting its own borders and thouse of Europe, EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos has said.
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Avramopoulos has attended the launch the European Border and Coast Guard at the Bulgarian border with Turkey, at the crossing point of Kapitan Andreevo.
The agency, which will have some EUR 320 M in funding until 2020, is a result of the expansion of Frontex, the current EU external border agency, which has been severely criticized for inefficiency since the outbreak of the migrant crisis last year.
“As a frontline state, Bulgaria has made coherent and everyday effort in this direction,” the Bulgarian National Radio quotes Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova, who has attended the inauguration, as saying.
“I am confident that, starting today [Thursday], the new service for European border and coast guard will contribute substantially for the more effective management of the land, air and sea borders and will substantially boost the level of security of the European Union.”
The establishment of the guard was agreed in December 2015 as a response to the surging migratory pressure on the EU’s external borders, with some 1.5 million people having crossed into the EU between January and November 2015.
“The European Border and Coast Guard combines the resources of the new European Border and Coast Guard Agency, built from Frontex, and the Member States’ authorities responsible for border management,” the EU Commission says in a statement.
The commission adds that the mandate of Frontex has been significantly strengthened in the new service to include several tasks such as “monitor migratory flows and carry out risk analysis; monitor the management of the external borders of the EU; provide operational and technical assistance to Member States; support search and rescue operations;
play an enhanced role in returns of third-country nationals who do not have the right to stay on the EU territory; support – together with other EU agencies – national authorities of the Member States carrying out coast guard functions.”
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