Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, supports EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries in the management of EU’s external borders and fighting cross-border crime.
The agency is a centre of excellence for border control activities at the EU’s external borders, sharing intelligence and expertise with all EU Member States, as well as neighbouring non-EU countries affected by migratory trends and cross-border crime.
Among its many tasks, the agency coordinates the deployment of border and coast guards, along with boats, airplanes, patrol cars and other equipment, to EU countries facing exceptional pressure at their external borders.
There are nearly 700 employees from 29 countries working currently for Frontex. By 2021 we plan to employ 1 000 staff in headquarters in Warsaw, about 250 additional staff responsible for the management of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), and up to 750 members of the European standing corps who will be mostly deployed in Frontex operations.
The agency carries out annual evaluations of the capacity and readiness of each Member State and Schengen Associated Country to face challenges at its external borders, including migratory pressure.
In practice, these annual assessments allow the agency to create an EU-wide overview of available border control means and capacities, and thus identify potential weaknesses in countries’ abilities to handle increased migratory pressure at their borders.The vulnerability assessment is an important part of the agency’s mission to manage migration more effectively, improve the internal security of the European Union and safeguard the principle of free movement of persons within the Schengen Area.
The agency supports the cooperation of law enforcement authorities, EU agencies and customs at maritime borders. Boats and planes deployed in its operations also collect and share information relevant to fisheries control, detection of pollution and compliance with maritime regulations.
In multi-purpose operations, vessels and aircraft deployed by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency cooperate with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to spot sea pollution and other possible violations of maritime conventions. Alongside the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), Frontex collects and shares information to be used to detect illegal fishing.
Frontex also works closely with a variety of international organisations and bodies, including United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organisation for Migration (IOM), ICMPD and others.
See here for the full list of our EU partners and for the list of international organisations with whom Frontex has signed working arrangements.
Frontex also cooperates with a number of organisations and NGOs which are part of its Consultative Forum – more information is available here.
Frontex was created in 2004. The mandate of the agency has been expanded in 2016, when it became Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. For more information, go here.