I was the first European Prime Minister who ever visited the headquarters of Frontex, after former Polish PM Szydlo, and I have to stress its extreme importance, because the whole strategy towards illegal migration is connected with it. Therefore, I went to Warsaw to familiarize myself with experts’ views and broaden my horizons for my diplomatic crusade against migration.
Frontex aim not only to protect borders against smugglers, but also to return illegal migrants. They showed me how they operate, how they can detect suspects both on the ground and at sea. I witnessed their ability to track down and stop a truck filled with migrants before it enters the Schengen area.
At the same time, they do a great job regarding illegal migrants’ returns. In the last year alone, they’ve dispatched 430 flights for them. We agreed that Frontex’s goal should be to deal with the countries of migrants’ origin on behalf of the European states. It would make our negotiating position stronger.
Finally, I have to appreciate a plan for ETIAS, a European equivalent of the US ESTA visa. All above mentioned is great and much needed.
However, as a businessman, I must address two issues – a plan to spend an extra 25 billion on Frontex and a plan to increase its staff by 8,500 and budget by 10 billion.
Wouldn’t it be much better to negotiate a deal with the United States, Canada and Turkey, so we could use NATO forces to tackle smugglers in the Mediterranean? I think that European resources should be spent on investments. Just recently, we’ve announced a funding program for kindergartens and it had been exhausted in 16 seconds, with dissatisfied applications amounting to 2.5 billion.
Europe is no longer facing an extreme influx of immigrants like it used to. Actually, it had dropped by 90 percent compared to 2015. Each coastal country has its own coast guard, there are 7,000 policemen from the EU28 ready to be deployed anywhere in a case of a crisis. So instead of boosting the Frontex budget, let’s allocate those funds for North African countries.
Overall, my experience and knowledge gained in Warsaw has been really useful throughout the week, be it at the ALDE coordination meeting, V4 coordination meeting or a work dinner with Prime Minister Theresa May.