European Interest

Why Austrian chancellor says EU border guards should patrol North Africa

Flickr/Kripos_NCIS/CC BY-ND 2.0

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz wants European Union border guards to stop North African refugees from crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. He told German weekly Welt am Sonntag that the Frontex should be allowed “to act in third countries, with the permission of their governments, to end smugglers’ dirty business model and prevent smugglers’ boats setting off on the dangerous route across the Mediterranean”.

He said EU border agents should “stop illegal migrants on the external borders, tend to them, and then ideally send them immediately back to their home country or transit country”.

Under current rules, Frontex, which is headquartered in Warsaw, Poland, is not allowed to patrol the border of the Schengen area.

As reported by The Associated Press (AP), tens of thousands of migrants and refugees attempt to reach southern European countries each year by crossing the Mediterranean in smugglers’ boats. Most of the boats are unfit for open water and thousands drown. The United Nations has reported that 636 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean so far this year.

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