Yesterday the European Commission has adopted the recommendation establishing a ‘Practical Handbook’ on European cooperation on coast guard functions. The Handbook will be made available as an online platform operated by EFCA in close cooperation with EMSA, Frontex and the Commission and updated with Agencies’ and Member States information. It contains guidelines, recommendations and best practices for the exchange of information on coast guard functions.
The three EU agencies, EFCA, EMSA and FRONTEX, work closely together under the inter-agency cooperation framework, with the direct support of the European Commission. They provide enhanced support and assistance to the national authorities performing coast guard functions at national and EU level and, where appropriate, at international level. This handbook is a concrete achievement of the EU cooperation on coast guard functions.
The recommendation establishes the handbook as a practical guide for EU civilian and military authorities when carrying out coast guard functions, facilitating close cross-border and cross-sector collaboration among them. The handbook provides a transparent compilation of services and information available through the three agencies. It helps to create synergies and avoid duplication and/or redundancy of effort in the cooperation between Member States and the three agencies, resulting in economies of scale.
The handbook focuses on the five inter-agency cooperation areas: information sharing; surveillance and communication services; capacity building; risk analysis; and capacity sharing. The handbook is mainly limited to cross-sector subjects and covers EU Member States and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States.
The main end users of this handbook are the national authorities for each coast guard function in each Member State, aiming to support them when planning and coordinating activities.
EFCA is leading the inter-agency cooperation areas for capacity building and risk analysis and will ensure in cooperation with EMSA and Frontex sound implementation of this important recommendation to all coast guard functions community.