On November 06, 2017, the IHS in Vienna hosted the second TARN lecture featuring Berndt Körner, Deputy Executive Director of Frontex. More than 30 guests listened to his interesting talk: “Integrated Border Management – an answer to the migration crisis?”.
For many years, the Schengen area and the ability to travel freely within the region, was one of the success stories of European cooperation. It created greater opportunities for travel and reduced time spent at borders, which strengthened further cross-border cooperation.
However, in recent years, Europe has experienced migration flows in unprecedented volumes, which challenged existing border control policies. This migration pressure has on the one hand introduced debates regarding the “closing of routes”, and on the other the notion of strengthening “legal routes”, along with the creation of centres outside of the EU to help tackle the matter. A further challenging dimension has been the need to deal with cross-border issues like terrorism and trafficking.
Ultimately, this has threatened the overall notion of Schengen and whether it has become necessary to return to the “old times”, where we had “our borders under control” and could decide for ourselves. Conversely, another option could be to go a step further, and try to develop new instruments, new measures, new approaches and new visions for a better and joint future.
A new regulation introducing the European Border and Coast Guard Agency reveals a novel approach to an integrated border protection system, which includes the following elements:
- Strengthening of border controls (both technical and operational) on land, air and maritime borders
- Greater protection of vulnerable individuals
- Search and rescue operation for people in emergency situations
- Risk analyses to help detect weaknesses at external borders
- Greater cooperation between member states
- Foster cooperation within member states and its national authorities
- Encourage regular information exchange (e.g. via the European Border Surveillance System – “EUROSUR”)
- Taking advantage of state-of-the-art technology, including IT technologies
- Greater cooperation with neighboring countries and countries from which migrants originate from
- Technical and operational coordination in regards to migrants who do not have permits to remain in the EU
In developing this integrated approach to border management, all stakeholders (including national authorities, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and more generally political institutions) must work together to help achieve this new vision of Schengen. Only then can we still enjoy the perks of Schengen, while collectively addressing the challenges that face us.
Berndt Körner shared his expertise and his very personal experiences about all aspects of border management. The talk was followed by lots of interesting questions and a lively discussion between the participants and Berndt Körner.