European Union lawmakers have endorsed plans for a new border and coast guard agency to help manage thousands of people trying to reach Europe in search of sanctuary or jobs.

The scheme was approved Wednesday by 483 votes to 181 with 48 abstentions.

The new agency will be built up from the EU's border management agency Frontex. The plan was launched after national guards were overwhelmed by the arrival of more than 1 million people last year.

EU countries will establish a pool of 1,500 officers and technical equipment that the agency could rapidly deploy to countries struggling with extraordinary migration flows.

Liaison officers would be stationed in all EU states with external borders to monitor movements.

The vote means the agency could be operational by the end of summer.