EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson met with the staff and executive management of Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, during her visit at the agency’s headquarters today.
Commissioner Johansson discussed the recent changes in the agency with the three Frontex Deputy Executive Directors, including Aija Kalnaja, Deputy Executive Director for Standing Corps Management who is leading the agency until the Frontex Management Board appoints the Executive Director ad interim at its June meeting.
“Europe needs strong and well-functioning Frontex. I met standing corps officers at the external border in different locations Everywhere, I saw Frontex officers and staff appreciated by the people they work with. I know that you are dedicated to your mission and you are delivering,” said Commissioner Johansson.
“Frontex is the biggest EU agency. It’s the most important agency we have ever had. It’s also the first time ever we have operational people on the ground. This comes with an increased scrutiny. It’s our mission to make sure we manage migration in a safe and dignified way,” she added.
Frontex currently has 16 ongoing operational activities at the EU’s external borders and neighbouring countries. These include 519 officers supporting countries at the eastern land borders, from Finland to Romania. Among them are 80 officers deployed in Moldova and more than 200 in Romania, assisting the countries neighbouring Ukraine in the arrival of millions of refugees. More than 6 million people have escaped the fighting in Ukraine since its invasion in February, most of them seeking protection in the European Union.
“Together with Deputy Executives Directors Lars Gerdes and Uku Särekanno, we are working shoulder-to-shoulder to run the day-to-day activities of Frontex. Our goal is to shape the agency as a role model of border police professionalism under the rule of law,” said Deputy Executive Director Aija Kalnaja.
Deputy Executive Director Lars Gerdes stressed that while the role of Frontex will increase, the agency’s duty remains to be a role model for effective border control while upholding fundamental rights, while Uku Särekanno spoke about how Frontex assists Member States in view of the war in Ukraine and thanked staff for their dedication and commitment.