WHAT IS THE ROLE OF FRONTEX?
Frontex is an acronym for Frontières extérieures (French for “external borders”).
The European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at External Borders was established in 2004. Frontex is headquartered in Warsaw, Poland.
Frontex’s mission is to improve the integrated management of the EU’s and the Schengen Area’s external borders, as well as to coordinate border control efforts.
In response to the 2015-2016 European migrant crisis, the European Commission proposed extending Frontex’s operations on December 15, 2015. The proposal was approved by the European Council, and Frontex was renamed the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
On October 6, 2016, Frontex began its new role, working in collaboration with Schengen Area border and coast guards, at Bulgaria’s external border with Turkey.
Frontex’s budget has also grown significantly in recent years. From 143 million euros in 2015 to over 750 million euros in 2022.
The 2019 regulation calls for 10,000 European border and coast guard agency employees by 2027.
HOW THE 2019 FRONTEX MANDATE AFFECTS THE EU
The Frontex regulation of 2019 has aided in the integration of national border and coast guard authorities with Frontex personnel.
Former Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri stated that the new border force would be a “daily partner” to national authorities and would develop long-term border management capabilities rather than relying on crisis management techniques.
Frontex’s ultimate goal is to ensure that Europe’s external borders are well-functioning, that fair laws are followed, and that EU citizens’ security is improved.
Frontex’s access to some European Union security systems enables the agency to share relevant information and risk analysis, as well as assist Schengen Area countries in anticipating external border challenges.
KEY ASPECTS OF THE 2019 EUROPEAN BORDER AND COAST GUARD AGENCY REGULATION
In addition, the Frontex regulation specified the following actions:
- Increased activity outside the EU
- Upgraded management system
- Continue to build resilience at European borders
- Continue to fight cross-border crime
- Support the reintegration of returnees in non-EU countries
- Remain committed to respecting fundamental rights
CASE STUDY: FRONTEX PREVENTS CROSS-BORDER CRIME IN EUROPE
Frontex and Austrian national authorities conducted an international operation targeting organised crime in central and southeastern Europe in September 2021.
The EMPACT Joint Action Day operation aimed to prevent people smuggling, human trafficking, and document fraud.
Frontex led the operation, coordinating with participating European countries’ police officers and border guards.
In less than a week:
- 144 suspected people smugglers were arrested
- 76 counterfeit documents were detected
- 13 cars identified as being used for criminal activity
This operation demonstrates Frontex’s critical role in ensuring EU border security.