The European Union has agreed provisional measures aimed at setting up a planned border and coast guard, which is expected to play a crucial role in tackling the current refugee crisis.
The force would include some 1,500 border guards sent to popular landing spots, such as deserted Greek beaches, and would have the power to return undocumented migrants.
“We need this agency to strengthen our external borders and I am pleased with the progress we have made so far,” said Dutch security and justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff, who chaired the meeting of EU home affairs ministers in Brussels. He said he was “very optimistic” that the ministers could agree details by April and deploy the force by summer.
However, ministers also expressed concern over the EU’s planned easing of visa rules for Turkey, part of a deal struck at Monday’s summit.