The European Commission President called for the increase in his final State of the Union speech
Jean-Claude Juncker: EU should have 10,000 more border guards by 2020
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for 10,000 more border and coast guards by 2020 on Wednesday, significantly strengthening the current agency.
Issuing the call to tighten the European Union's borders at his fourth and final State of the Union speech, Mr Juncker said: "The European Commission is today proposing to strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard to better protect our external borders with an additional 10,000 European border guards by 2020."
Referring to situations where ships full of migrants rescued from vessels in the Mediterranean have been bounced from country-to-country, Mr Juncker reiterated the need for a solution.
"We cannot continue to squabble to find ad hoc solutions each time a new ship arrives. Temporary solidarity is not good enough. We need lasting solidarity – today and forever more," he said, also calling for skilled migrants and a pathway to European citizenship.
"I would also like to remind member states again of the need to open legal pathways to the Union. I renew my call. We need skilled migrants."
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe needs solidarity in tackling illegal migration, meaning some countries must sacrifice policing external borders to the EU.
"The question of fighting illegal migration means we have to strengthen external border protection ... that means also that the countries with an external border must give up some of their national responsibilities," Mrs Merkel told parliament on Wednesday.
Securing European Union borders is largely the responsibility of member states. But countries who feel they bear a disproportionate amount of the burden in securing the union's borders are expressing fatigue, particularly in relation to migrants crossing the Mediterranean.
The EU's current border and coast guard, Frontex, established in 2005, primarily co-ordinates Union border efforts with local states but does not operate significantly on the borders itself.