The European Union announced plans Tuesday to seek to create a new border force to crack down on refugees and migrants.
“In an area of free movement without internal borders, managing Europe’s external borders must be a shared responsibility,” said European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans.
The 1,500-strong rapid response force will have US$354 million in funding by 2020, and replace the existing Frontex agency if approved. The proposal is part of a raft of measures suggested by the commission, which has called for spending on border security to be nearly tripled. The measures still need to be approved by member states of the regional bloc.
Under one of the most controversial proposals, the commission itself would be empowered to deploy EU forces in the territories of member states, without consent from the countries impacted.
According to Reuters, Timmermans conceded, “There is a lot of debate about us imposing our will on member states.”
“This is a safety net. Most member states would gladly accept the help,” the official added.
Europe is currently facing its largest influx of refugees and migrants in decades, with hundreds of thousands of displaced people moving through the Balkans and crossing the Mediterranean to escape conflict in countries such as Syria.
Global refugee levels are now at their highest point since the aftermath of World War II, and European nations have been divided over how to handle the influx of refugees and migrants and have largely refused to acknowledge their responsibility for the conditions which create migrants and refugees in the first place.