Mandatory checks for passengers arriving at EU’s external borders also included in new measures.
Systematic checks for passengers arriving at the EU’s external borders are to be introduced as part of a wide-ranging package of measures proposed by theEuropean Commission on Tuesday to deal with the migration crisis.
The EU’s executive arm also announced details of a new EU coast guard to patrol EU borders in a bid to curb the flow of migrants and refugees entering the European Union.
Both proposals will need the support of member states and the European Parliament before passing into law.
While currently EU citizens and member states of the Schengen area are subject to ad-hoc checks when re-entering Schengen and EU countries, the amendment announced by the commission would make these checks mandatory. The move is widely seen as a response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, which revealed that some of the perpetrators were EU citizens who had re-entered the European Union through its external borders.
While Ireland and Britain are not part of the Schengen travel-free area, the new proposal would mean Irish and British passport-holders would be subject to mandatory passport checks when entering Schengen and EU areas.
The commission also unveiled plans for a new European border guard, to replace the EU’s existing border agency, Frontex. The new agency will be staffed by 1,000 people as well as a minimum of 1,500 standby border guards who can be deployed within three days from member states.
As non-Schengen members, Ireland and Britain are not obliged to participate in the new agency, though both countries have participated in Frontex. A commission official said Ireland and Britain were expected to take part in the new body to some extent. “Already now there are possibilities of co-operation on an ad hoc basis. The same will apply in the future,” a senior official said.
Speaking in Brussels on Monday Minister for Foreign affairs Charlie Flanagan said he would expect Ireland to “play its part” in any new border initiative.
Between January and November this year an estimated 1.5 million people are estimated to have crossed the EU external borders illegally.