22/10/2013 - General Affairs Council (GAC)
The Council adopts external border surveillance system
On 22 October 2013, the Council adopted the regulation on the European external border surveillance system (EUROSUR). It also adopted conclusions on macro-regional strategies and addressed enlargement.
The aim of the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) is to reinforce control of the EU's external borders. EUROSUR will become one of the EU's key tools in preventing tragedies at sea such as the recent ones near the island of Lampedusa (Italy).
The system will create a mechanism for:
- sharing operational information between authorities
- cooperation between member states and with FRONTEX (Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders).
It is intended to:
- reduce the number of irregular immigrants who manage to enter the EU undetected
- increase the internal security of the EU as a whole, by contributing to the prevention of cross-border crime
- enhance the search and rescue capacity of irregular immigrants and persons in need of international protection in order to reduce the number of deaths at sea.
The EUROSUR regulation will apply to member states on the EU's southern and eastern external borders from 2 December 2013 and to the remaining participating member states from 1 December 2014.
Other topics on the agenda
The Council addressed enlargement, confirming that chapter 22 of the negotiations with Turkey will be opened and scheduling the accession conference for 5 November 2013. Chapter 22 on regional policy and coordination of structural instruments is the 14th chapter to be opened out of 35.
The Council adopted conclusions on EU macro-regional strategies. A macro-regional strategy is a framework to address common challenges in an area where both member states and non-EU countries are located. Its objective is to strengthen cooperation in order to improve economic, social and territorial cohesion. The conclusions point out the added value of such strategies and provide guidance for future implementation.
The ministers endorsed a synthesis report from the presidency on the lessons learned during the 2013 exercise.