Europe to establish common border surveillance system

European Commission plans to establish a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) aimed at increasing coordination within and between Member States to prevent and tackle serious crime, such as drug trafficking and the trafficking of human beings, and to diminish the unacceptable death toll of migrants at sea.

Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs

Under the EUROSUR mechanism, Member States’ authorities responsible for border surveillance (border guards, coast guards, police, customs and navies) will be able to exchange operational information and cooperate with each other, with Frontex and with neighbouring countries.

The increased exchange of information and the use of modern surveillance technology introduced by EUROSUR can also be vital for saving the lives of migrants attempting to reach the shores of EU Member States in small and unseaworthy boats that are very difficult to track, European Commission said.

“EUROSUR will help detect and fight criminal networks’ activities and will be a crucial tool for saving migrants who put their lives at risk trying to reach EU shores,” said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs. ”The new system will contribute to an integrated border management system whilst ensuring that fundamental rights, data protection and the principle of non-refoulement are respected.”

In order to improve the capability of detecting small vessels, Frontex will set up a service for the common application of surveillance tools, combining, among other things, satellite imagery with information derived from ship reporting systems.

This will increase the possibility of identifying and tracking down the routes used by criminal networks. The fact that traffickers are currently using small wooden and glass-fibre boats for smuggling both human beings and illicit drugs poses a major challenge to law enforcement authorities because it is extremely difficult to detect, identify and track such small boats on the high seas.