The Commission of the European Union is planning to make a total of €600 million available to support the Member States with border control as well as technological equipment.
A letter from the President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to the Council of the EU said that the money would be used to help the authorities to manage borders and stressed that the focus would be to strengthen the border controls between Bulgaria and Türkiye, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“We need to target our means effectively to make the best use of the EUR 600 million being made available shortly to substantially support Member States with border control and technological equipment. A first objective would be the key border between Bulgaria and Türkiye, where the Commission is working with the Bulgarian authorities to finalise an assessment of needs,” von der Leyen wrote in the letter.
According to von der Leyen, extra support is needed at the Bulgarian-Turkish border as a high number of illegal border crossings has been recorded in the second half of last year as well as so far this year.
The same stressed that additional support is also needed in the Western Balkans. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) has already started deploying its border guards in Serbia, with 130 standing corps deployed at the country’s border with Hungary and Bulgaria.
In addition, negotiations with Albania and Montenegro on status agreements allowing for joint patrols and deployments have taken a step forward, meaning that the other Western Balkan countries will also focus on protecting their border.
In order to make it easier for them to keep illegal border movement under control, the Commission has decided to offer assistance, and a new €40 million border package assistance with modernised equipment is underway.
In addition to the above-mentioned, the letter of the EU Commission President also mentioned that the EU is working with partners to improve migration and return management and stressed that a growing visa policy aligned and cooperation with Frontex has been felt.
“We see both growing visa policy alignment and cooperation with Frontex, leading to sustained decreases of irregular migration along the route,” the statement of von der Leyen reads.
The decision of the EU Commission to further support the Member States with border control comes not long after the illegal border crossings in the EU registered a significant increase.
Earlier this month, Frontex said that the illegal border crossings in the Central Mediterranean route doubled in the first two months of 2023 compared to the same period last year. Frontex further stressed that in the first two months of 2023, a total of 28,130 illegal border crossings to the EU were registered.