Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on Sunday said he hoped a new border and coastguard force would be deployed on the European Union’s outer frontiers by the end of 2016.
His statement came after European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker called earlier this week for a new EU border and coastguard force to start work quickly with 200 guards and 50 vehicles deployed in Bulgaria by October.
“The goal is very clear: to put into action European border guards and coastguards by the end of the year, with all that that entails,” Fico told Czech television channel CT.
“All the legislative procedures concerning the matter have been carried out,” he said, adding that his country would offer its full support to ensure the force was deployed.
Fico’s statement came two days after European leaders gathered for a post-Brexit summit in the Slovak capital Bratislava.
The leaders agreed to forge a new “vision” within six months to restore faith and unity in the bloc which has been rocked by problems such as mass migration, security and a faltering economy.
“The summit proved that as far as the migration wave was concerned, EU policy was a failure,” Fico said.
“That’s what we were saying from the start,” he said, referring to Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic — known together as the Visegrad Group.
“Let’s protect the outer borders and forbid the entry of illegal migrants, that’s the only way,” he said.
“We faced criticism for that. But today, that is the EU’s official policy.”