The Czech and Slovak Prime Ministers criticised the European Commission’s plans to increase funding for the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. The two leaders asserted that this amounts to duplicating European security structures and encouraging an ineffective agency.
The plans to upgrade the EU border force Frontex was proposed by the European Commission and backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz during the joint session of the Czech and Slovak governments on Sunday.
Andrej Babiš, the Czech Prime Minister, believes Frontex was obsolete and challenges the need to pour money into a parallel structure the the coast guards of individual European countries. He stated:
The cost of Frontex now amounts to around 1.7 billion euros and now the European Commission is proposing to make it 10 billion.
I am convinced that Greece Italy, Malta or Spain do not need Frontex – I have spoken to them about it. We need to ask ourselves why we are pouring money into a parallel force when these countries have their own border guards. Of course if Frontex operated outside the EU it would be a different matter.”
His sentiments were echoed by the Slovak Prime Minister, Peter Pellegrini, who said it would be more sensible to give the money directly to Italy, Malta, Greece, Spain or Portugal, for them to strengthen their own borders. Fontex could be a coordinating, administrative body.
“We must choose such solutions where the bulk of the money goes where it is effective and is not eaten up by administrating bodies.”
Mr. Babiš responded that besides helping individual member states, EU funds should be used to reach an agreement with North African countries, similar to the EU-Turkey Pact, to prevent economic migration and facilitate conditions allowing migrants to stay in their home countries.
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