22:58 GMT +315 July 2019
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    Donald Tusk admitted that the European Union is not protecting its external borders enough, but said that he was more optimistic on the issue.

    Tusk ‘More Optimistic’ Over EU External Border Protection

    © AFP 2019 / DIMITAR DILKOFF
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    Donald Tusk admitted that the European Union is not protecting its external borders enough, but said that he was more optimistic on the issue.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – European Council President Donald Tusk admitted that the European Union is not protecting its external borders enough, but said that he was more optimistic on the issue as EU leaders have agreed to speed up work on improving the situation.

    "All the elements of a strategy are there, but there is still a delivery deficit when it comes to hotspots, relocation, resettlement and returns. Above all, we are failing to protect our external borders. That is why leaders have decided to speed up on all these issues," Tusk said in a statement issued after a Thursday European Council meeting.

    According to Tusk, ministers should adopt their concrete positions on strengthening EU external borders by July.

    "Tonight, we can be a bit more optimistic, because all leaders have agreed to protect Schengen. In this context, we agreed to rapidly examine the European Commission's proposal of strengthening the EU's external borders, including the European Border Guard idea," Tusk said.

    The European Council leader informed that he had been notified by the Frontex border agency of an agreement with Greece on deploying a Rapid Border Intervention Team in December.

    On Tuesday, the European Commission proposed to establish a European Border and Coast Guard to strengthen EU external border control, aimed at preventing the uncontrolled flow of migrants into the bloc.

    The European Union is currently struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

    Over 1.2 million illegal border crossings have been detected by the EU border agency Frontex since the beginning of 2015.

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