Preparing to deal with possible waves of illegal immigrants to Europe this summer, EU ministers have backed calls to increase patrols in the Mediterranean. Meeting in southwestern Germany, they discussed increased cooperation with the immigrants’ countries of origin.
The head of the interior ministers’ conference, Ehrhart Koerting, said: “Parallel to the development of Europe in many other areas, I can imagine common border control in Europe through a common police force in 10 or 15 years.” This followed expressions of support by EU member states a few days ago to make an emergency force of border guards available to help out in cases where one of the members faced a major influx of illegal immigrants.
This “strategic reserve” provided from the national forces would be available to back the bloc’s existing border agency, Frontex. Frontex coordinates individual EU countries’ efforts in securing the bloc’s 6,000 kilometres of external land borders and 85,000 kilometers of coastline. The agency has helped intercept many immigrants’ boats setting out from Western Africa. This was in response to a surge in numbers who try to enter the EU through Spain’s Canary Islands.