The European Union’s Austrian presidency has warned that plans for a 10,000-strong bloc-wide border and coastguard force in two years exceeds “what is feasible”.
“The Commission’s target with these fixed figures (of 10,000) by 2020 actually goes beyond the scope of what is feasible,” Austria’s interior minister Herbert Kickl told reporters.
As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), some EU member states have expressed fears the plan would erode their sovereign right to control national borders while others had concerns about funding a force that the European Commission unveiled in September.
“That is why we are now exploring corresponding compromises,” Kickl said without elaborating.
“We have nothing to gain from writing 10,000 on paper and then they do not really exist, and that is why the timetable is being extended,” Kickl added.
He spoke instead of a “gradual buildup” during the next seven-year EU budget from 2021-2027, which is now under negotiation.
Speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, one diplomat said it is “pretty fair to say” the bloc has abandoned the plan to meet the 10,000 target. “For now it is unrealistic”.
There has been opposition from EU member states. Poland, for example, said that funds for the force might mean less money for road and other infrastructure projects.
Frontline countries Italy, Greece and Spain fear border guards recruited from other member countries could erode their national sovereignty.