Andrej Babis Petr Pellegrini


Babis, Pellegrini Speak Out Against Frontex

Andrej Babiš, European Union, Peter Pellegrini

Kosice, East Slovakia, Sept 17 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his Slovak counterpart Peter Pellegrini criticised the EC plan to upgrade the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) as of 2020 after the joint meeting of the two countries’ governments today.


They said this would be a useless parallel structure to the coast guards of individual European countries.


It is more sensible to strengthen national measures, they added.


Pellegrini said the Frontex should be a coordinating body.


“However, if the number of those protecting our borders is to grow, these should be primarily the soldiers of the coast guard or the troops of the Italian military, the Maltese, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese and other police,” he added.


The investments should go in their capacities, while the Frontex should be in charge of the management, he added.


Babis said he was against the growing costs of the Frontex.


“The costs would amount to around 1.7 billion euros and now the European Commission is proposing ten billion. I am convinced that Greece, Italy and Malta do not need any Frontex,” he added.


The upgrading of the European guard would amount to building a parallel structure. “If the money were paid directly to Spain or Italy it would be more useful,” Pellegrini said.


Last Wednesday, EC President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the intention to upgrade the Frontex from the current few hundred to 10,000 along with its own equipment and strengthen its mandate by 2020.


Babis said it was more suitable to use the European money for an agreement with North African countries, along the lines of the EU-Turkey pact, rather than investing in the upgrading of the Frontex.


Based on the pact, Turkey pledged to receive migrants from Greece in exchange for a financial support for the creation of refugee camps. The agreement has strongly reduced the migration along the Balkan route.


Babis said the EU was facing migration from two directions. One of them covers the refugees from Syria who want to return home in the future, Babis said.


Hence the need to seek a rapid peace in Syria and a reconstruction of the country.


The other case is the migration from Africa, which is motivated economically. It is necessary to create the conditions in the countries of origin thanks to which the people would not set out on the journey, Babis said.