June 16, 2018 / 9:39 AM / a month ago

Austria wants EU leaders to agree on strengthening Frontex in September

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz hopes that European Union leaders will reach an agreement on strengthening the border agency Frontex at an informal meeting in September, he told the newspaper Der Standard.

Austria's chancellor Sebastian Kurz attends a news conference with German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer in Berlin, Germany, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Joachim Herrmann

Kurz wants to make security and the fight against illegal immigration a priority during Austria’s EU presidency, which starts next month.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency known as FRONTEX police patrol the area near Albania-Montenegro Crosspoint in Shkodra, Albania June 6, 2018. Picture taken June 6, 2018. REUTERS/Florion Goga

“It is my goal that we reach a political agreement on the strengthening of Frontex, on an extension of the mandate and make a big step towards a better control of external borders,” the newspaper quoted Kurz as saying on Saturday.

Kurz, who wants a slimmer EU that focuses on core competences, said there was a difference between a bloc that created new posts for officials, who introduce new regulations, or “whether you hire officials who fight human traffickers”.

Austria wants the bloc’s focus to shift away from resettling refugees within the EU and toward preventing further waves of arrivals.

Several EU countries are in advanced talks to set up a camp for rejected asylum seekers in a country on the continent but outside the European Union, Kurz said June 6.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, editing by Larry King

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