Focus


The European Border and Coast Guard

2016-10-11

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency has been built on the foundations laid by Frontex, which has been coordinating the operational cooperation of EU Member States at the external borders for more than a decade.

The concept of European Board and Coast Guard comprises the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and national authorities responsible for border management, including coast guard.

While the responsibility for the management of the external borders remains primarily with the Member States, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency supports border control at land, air and sea borders by reinforcing, assessing and coordinating actions of member states at the external borders of the European Union.

It coordinates the deployment of technical equipment (vessels, helicopters and boats) and specialised border guards to those EU countries which face an increased migratory pressure.

What is new?

Vulnerability assessment – The agency will carry out annual stress tests to evaluate the capacity and readiness of each Member State to face challenges at its external borders, including migratory pressure.

Rapid reaction pool – The agency will create a pool of at least 1 500 border guards and other relevant staff to be deployed in rapid interventions (operations organised in response to an emergency situation at the external border). The members of the rapid reaction pool will be provided by Member States upon request by the agency.

Enhanced role in returns – The agency will also assist in forced returns from one or more Member State, including obtaining travel documents for returnees by working closely with consular authorities of the relevant third countries. It will also organise voluntary departures of nationals of non-EU countries who were issued return decisions by Member State authorities. The agency will be able to organise return operations on its own initiative and “collecting return operations” where returnees are returned with escort officers and transportation provided by their countries of origin. It will create a pool of forced return monitors who will monitor all forced return flights coordinated by the agency and a pool of forced return escorts and a pool of return specialists to be deployed in Member State when needed.

Deployment of Liaison Officers in the Member States – The agency will deploy liaison officers in Member States who will support collection of information and monitor measures taken by the Member State at its external borders. The liaison officer’s report will form a part of the vulnerability assessments.

Coast Guard Function – The agency supports the cooperation of law enforcement authorities, EU agencies and customs at maritime borders. Vessels and aircraft deployed in its operations also collect and share information relevant to fisheries control, detection of pollution and compliance with maritime regulations.

Multipurpose operations – The agency will work closely with European Fisheries Control Agency and European Maritime Safety Agency to implement multipurpose operations. In these operations, assets deployed for border surveillance could also be used for fishing and environmental monitoring. The agencies will also provide each other with services, information, equipment and training.

Operations in non-EU countries – The agency will have a possibility to carry out operations on the territory of non-EU countries neighbouring at least one participating Member State, in case of migratory pressure at a non-EU country’s border.

Sharing of intelligence on criminal activity – The agency shares intelligence gathered at the borders on persons suspected of involvement in criminal activities, such as migrant smuggling, terrorism or trafficking in human beings, with national authorities and European agencies.

Security checks (access to databases) – border guards and other relevant staff deployed in Frontex operations can be authorised by the country hosting the operation to consult European and national databases. Access to the Schengen Information System (SIS) and Visa Information System (VIS), as well as Lost and Stolen Documents database will enable them to verify information on the spot and ensure proper security checks.

Implementation of EU framework programmes for research and innovation - The agency will assist the Member States and the European Commission in identifying key border security technologies. It will draw up and implement the EU framework programmes for research and innovation activities in the border security area.

Risk analysis on movement of migrants within the European Union The agency prepares general and tailored risk analysis which will now also cover border control, returns and irregular secondary movements of third country nationals within the EU.

Training on coast guard function and vulnerability assessments. The agency will provide training on integrated border management and the coast guard function to border guards across the EU. It will also train experts who will carry out vulnerability assessments.

Complaints mechanism – Any person who has been directly affected by the actions of staff involved in an activity of the agency will be able to submit a written complaint regarding possible violations of his/her fundamental rights.


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