Finally we have a European approach for European borders. Now revise Dublin, says Gianni Pittella

The S&D Group has welcomed the proposal from the Commission on a European Border and Coast Guard, which recognises the need to make managing the Schengen zone's external borders a European responsibility.

S&D Group President Gianni Pittella said:

"The new proposals put forward by the European Commission are in line with our major aim: to make the control of our external borders a European matter. It is implicitly recognised that the coast of Lesbos, Lampedusa or the frontier between Serbia and Hungary are no longer just national borders but our common European ones. Any practical move towards a greater role for Europe is welcomed by the S&D Group.

However, these new proposals must be followed by two further major points: the legal revision of the Dublin system and a new permanent and compulsory relocation scheme for refugees based on real solidarity and burden sharing between Member States. If these don't stand together the whole system will collapse and we risk turning our border countries into sprawling refugee centres. We therefore urge the Commission to come up with concrete proposals on the missing pillars as soon as possible and we will continue to pressure Member States to meet the obligations they already agreed to."

S&D Group Vice-President Tanja Fajon added:

"We welcome any measure that will help to improve standards of border management across the EU. We need more robust rules to keep a tighter control on those who enter Europe and help ensure that they do so at regular, managed crossing points, while at the same time respecting human rights and international law for people seeking protection or asylum. This more joined-up approach to external border management is positive however we need to see how this is actually going to work in practice, especially regarding questions of national sovereignty and financing. So far we have heard a lot of promises on solving the crisis but the details and implementation have been lacking. We have to study these proposals and ensure that what is being promised can actually be achieved."

"This new proposal also means a huge change in the size and mandate of the EU's border control agency Frontex. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. If our citizens are going to trust Frontex's new role then it must be subject to real political scrutiny and have a robust fundamental rights compliance system. The European Parliament should be given the task of monitoring this new role to ensure proper accountability."