22:07 GMT +323 October 2018
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    EU Member States Agree on Juncker's Proposal to Strengthen Frontex - Merkel

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    Last week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker voiced plans to beef up the European Border and Coast Guard Agency with 10,000 more employees by 2020 to tackle unlawful immigration.

    European leaders have agreed on the proposal from European Commission President Juncker to bolster the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, also known as Frontex, with additional 10,000 employees, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced at an informal two-day summit in Salzburg, Austria.

    Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also supported a stronger EU border agency on Thursday, insisting that even EU member states that currently refuse to accept migrants could have an "active participation" in the upgraded force.

    This comes as European heads of state and govenrment are discussing the contentious issues of migraiton and Brexit at an informal two-day summit in Salzburg, Austria.

    Last Wednesday, Jean-Claude Juncker proposed in his annual State of the Union speech in Strasbourg that the bloc deploys 10,000 more armed border guards by 2020 to better tackle illegal migration. He added they would be authorized to use armed force on the EU's external borders.

    Immigration has been a pressing issue for the European Union ever since 2015, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy led to an unprecedented influx of migrants to Europe, primarily from North Africa and the Middle East.

    Merkel's controversial stance on immigration has provoked a vigorous public outcry and ignited a surge of right-wing sentiment in European countries, including Italy, Austria, and Hungary. The Hungarian-Italian alliance represented by Orban and Salvini has recently challenged the EU's migration policy, demanding a stronger border protection.

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    Tags:
    border guards, migration, Frontex, European Commission, Angela Merkel, Jean-Claude Juncker, European Union, Germany
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