Rare show of EU unity as it launches new border force

THE European Union launched its beefed-up border force yesterday in a rare show of unity by the squabbling bloc as it seeks to tackle its worst migration crisis since World War II.


EU officials inaugurated the new task force at the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint on the Bulgarian-Turkish border, the main land frontier for migrants seeking to enter the bloc by avoiding the dangerous Mediterranean sea crossing.


The European Border and Coast Guard Agency will have at its disposal some 1,500 officers from 19 member states who can be swiftly mobilized in case of an emergency, like a sudden surge of migrants.


Brussels hopes the revamped agency will not just increase security, but also help to heal the huge rifts that have emerged between member states clashing over the EU’s refugee policies.


The long-term goal is to lift border controls inside the bloc and fully restore the passport-free Schengen Zone. “The new agency is stronger and better equipped to tackle migration and security challenges,” said the border agency’s director Fabrice Leggeri.


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