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EU's border agency creates bloc's first uniformed service

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The European Union's border control agency said Thursday that it is recruiting hundreds of border guards as it creates the bloc's first uniformed service. Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri said this "will lead to a true transformation of our agency. For the first time Frontex will have its owned uniformed service, working under the banner of the European Union."

Frontex has so far relied on agents deployed temporarily by its 28 member states for a mission that includes preventing illegal migration and fighting cross-border crime, as well as search and rescue activities.

A spokeswoman for the Warsaw-based organization, Ewa Moncure, said that system had "reached its limit" as the EU works to control borders crossed by more than 500 million people per year. Moncure said Frontex will continue to be reinforced by guards sent from member states, but will become more efficient and flexible by having its own permanent corps.

The agency said that it is planning to hire 700 border guards in a first batch, but plans to increase that to a couple of thousand officers. The EU has more than 12,000 kilometers (7,450 miles) of land border, 45,000 kilometers (28,000 miles) of sea border and 600 international airports.

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