France proposes EU border guard corps

LUXEMBOURG - France has formally proposed setting up an EU border guard corps to better secure the bloc's external borders which have been inundated by huge numbers of migrants and refugees, an EU source said Thursday.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve made the proposal to his 27 EU counterparts during talks in Luxembourg and details will be discussed at a summit in Brussels next week, the source said on condition of anonymity.

In the short-term, Cazeneuve proposed "an evolution toward a system of European border guards," the source said.

He said the member states would make available to the EU border agency Frontex "an annual quota of border guards," but each state would "retain control over the management of the external borders of its territory," according to the source.

Frontex currently has "limited" border control capacities, he said.

"In the longer-term, a more ambitious system could be proposed, aimed at creating a European border guard force," the source said, citing Cazeneuve.

It would be placed under the authority of Frontex, with staff from member states detached to it.

The "decision to deploy the corps will belong to European authorities in liaison with the member states," he added.

But analysts have told AFP they suspect frontline nations will resist ceding sovereign border control rights to other European Union states and that Brussels will have to settle for a far less ambitious proposal.