The European Union have unveiled their new coast and border force, in a sign of greater integration between Member States.
The EU’s border agency Frontex is the first of its kind to receive an official EU designated uniform, which will allow the officials “to represent the European Union at its borders” [our italics], according to Brussels.
The organisation is headquartered in the Polish capital of Warsaw. It is tasked with looking after all the external borders of all Member States (and some non-members), covering 44,000km of external sea borders and almost 9,000km of land borders.
The organisation works with Member States to prioritise operations, then with the host country that oversees the operation, which can request as many officers as are necessary. Finally, Frontex have access to a range of equipment such as helicopters, planes, patrol cars, thermo-vision equipment and heartbeat detectors.
Their livery consists of national uniforms and a blue armband with the insignia of the EU and Frontex. To allow national authorities and citizens to distinguish between one another, officers have to carry an accreditation document, provided by Frontex, which they must present on request.
There are concerns that this is a step towards the EU forming a united military force, an idea that has the support of French President Emmanuel Macron.
The former Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, accused Nigel Farage of “dangerous fantasies” in 2014 for suggesting that an EU army could be created.