European Maritime Safety Agency

EESC opinion: European Maritime Safety Agency

The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), as it fits in with general efforts to monitor the EU's external maritime borders much more effectively than in the past. However, it would once again stress that time is of the essence in implementing the proposed measures.

The Committee welcomes the proposal to expand the activities of EMSA; however, it has serious doubts as to whether EMSA has the human and financial resources to perform these additional activities properly.

In the Committee's view, closer cooperation and information exchange between the three EU agencies in question, and between them and the national bodies carrying out coastguard functions, should result in an efficient and effective coastguard system. In its opinion, a cost-efficient and cost-effective coastguard system would enable Member States to forgo permanent controls and allow Schengen to be restored to its former glory. The Committee endorses using remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS, also referred to as drones) because it enables full surveillance, among other things in order to avoid the loss of human life.

The Committee strongly recommends amending the title of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in the draft regulations to read European Border Guard Agency.