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Will Europe defend its borders?

Free movement within the Schengen area means that the external borders must be well guarded. To this end, on the proposal of the Juncker Commission, a European Border and Coast Guard Corps was created. Comprising staff from the Member States, but also those recruited directly by Frontex, working under European uniform, it will soon carry weapons.

Its mission is, in fact, to help the States which bear the responsibility of a European external border to protect and defend it. In 2019 they agreed to strengthen it and increase its resources.

However, this prospect does not suit some of our neighbours, such as Turkey, which is multiplying incursions, provocations and violations of its border with Greece, where 800 agents of the agency have already been called in as reinforcements. It also seems to be upsetting some in the European Parliament or within the European Commission. Some people would have preferred a European Sea Rescue Agency to a real border police force. However, the latter is necessary if we are to better combat terrorism, control trafficking and interference, but also illegal immigration - in other words, to protect the real right of asylum.

For several weeks now, Frontex has been the focus of a seemingly concerted campaign against it. Charges, unproven accusations and suspicions that have been insidiously spread, intend to cast doubt on the Union's ability to exist in this field.

Under attack on several fronts out of extremely bad faith, the European Border and Coast Guard Corps, a hitherto unlikely intergovernmental cooperation, is in fact our only chance of a common migration policy. For it to be implemented, it must first be accepted and co-managed by the Member States before it can be successfully developed. Guided by strict legal rules regarding the respect of human rights, this police force can lend credibility to the Europe's resolve to lead the Union out of the naivety towards which its natural generosity is inclined, as it begins to give concrete expression to its external borders that largely shape its identity and the sense of belonging it still lacks. Above all, it will provide it with its first quasi-state-like instruments to act effectively in its neighbourhood.

To undermine this project indiscriminately once again means that we would be relying on others to manage the continent's security; it means rejecting a strong and respected Europe at the expense of values that are thus weakened. Those who do so under the guise of good intentions would do well to think twice before undermining this real European achievement.