Europe's border and coastguard agency Frontex is trying to recruit hundreds of people to its new border force. Over the next six weeks, the agency will hire 700 extra guards in the first stage of a major expansion aimed at preventing unwanted migration.
Frontex announced in October that had begun recruiting border guards as part of a huge expansion of the agency. Until now, it has relied on agents deployed temporarily by its 28 member states. Now for the first time, the European Union will have its own officers, with their own equipment, on its borders.
The mission of Frontex includes preventing cross-border crime, as well as search and rescue activities, but its main function is to control irregular border crossings into Europe, which it says number more than 500 per year. This system has "reached its limit," according to Frontex spokesperson Ewa Moncure in Warsaw.
The first batch of 700 new officers will be deployed from January, 2021, according to Frontex. The standing corps is to become fully operational, with 10,000 staff, by 2027.
Frontex says the new border guards will wear uniforms, carry a weapon and will have the power to allow or refuse a person entry into the EU. The guards will have specified functions such as border guard officer, document expert and cross-border crime detection officer.
The border guards will have worked in law enforcement, the military, emergency services or civilian crisis management fields. They will be given at least six months' basic training with Frontex.
The European Union has more than 12,000 km of land border, 45,000 km of sea border and 600 international airports.