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Tight security European border agency wants more Swiss help

Migrants and activists protested in Ponte Chiasso, Italy for the opening of the Swiss-Italian border in September

(Keystone/TI-Press/Francesca Agosta)

The head of Europe's border control agency, Frontex, has said he wants more help from Switzerland in protecting borders, and particularly in the form of experts, helicopters and technical equipment.

In an interview with Swiss public radio, SRF, Fabrice Leggeri said that Switzerland could contribute more at a time when EU countries are strengthening their borders. Frontex has just put together a reserve rapid-response unit of 1,500 border control experts.

The new intervention group is soon to be put into use, mainly in Italy, where 160,000 migrants have arrived from oversea, some of whom have continued on to Germany and Switzerland. “This is the focal point now,” said Leggeri.

Like other Schengen states Switzerland has to contribute, and has committed to making 16 border control experts available.

Leggeri told SRF that he expected a higher level of engagement and that Switzerland could make more experts available. “They could be used as chaperones for deportation flights, for example.” The EU authorities want to carry out significantly more deportation flights in the future.

Frontex may also be more active outside of Europe in the future, in an attempt to stop people seeking refuge from making the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean Sea. and agencies

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