EU Partners

As part of its function to supervise the implementation of the EU treaties and legislation, the European Commission oversees the work of EU agencies, including Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. For this reason, two representatives of DG HOME represent the Commission on the Frontex Management Board. The Frontex Regulation also requires that the European Commission be kept regularly informed of agency activities.

Frontex falls within the responsibility and portfolio of its “parent DG”, Commission Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), and the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Ylva Johansson. In practice, Frontex also cooperates with many of the Directorates and bodies within the European Commission.

Beyond supporting the implementation of existing policies, Frontex also contributes to various areas of Commission work particularly by providing its technical expertise. This can include input at the consultation stage of legislative proposals, or regular attendance to Commission-run expert groups and networks (such as the European Network on Migration).

In addition, the European Commission has a number of specific and important powers stemming from the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation.

In situations at the external borders requiring urgent action, as part of the procedure laid down in Article 19, the Commission may propose decisions to be taken by the Council requiring a Member State to cooperate with the agency in the implementation of measures to mitigate risks at the external borders.

The Commission may delegate relevant powers to Frontex when it implements border security related parts of the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. It also provides prior approval to proposed Frontex working arrangements with EU or non-EU institutions, agencies, organisations or countries. Every four years, the Commission contracts independent external evaluations to assess the agency’s work, results achieved and possible need to modify its mandate. Finally, the European Commission also has an important role in coordinating the activities of the migration management support teams deployed in hotspot areas.

Frontex also cooperates with the European Commission’s DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), the DG for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), the DG for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the Secretariat-General, the Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD), Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC), Eurostat and more beside.

Frontex may benefit from EU funding delegated from the funding instruments relevant to EU external actions (for example managed by DG NEAR or DG DEVCO). This is notably the case when Frontex launches and finances technical assistance projects in non-EU countries.

The European Union's Earth observation programme – Copernicus

The monitoring of EU external borders is vital for the internal security and protection of European citizens. That is why Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, has been implementing the Copernicus Programme since 2015, when it signed the Delegation Agreement with the European Commission on the Implementation of the Border Surveillance Component of the Copernicus Security Service and continues to implement it under the Copernicus Contribution Agreement 2021-2028. In line with the agreement, Frontex acts as the single and central point of contact for the acquisition, fusion and delivery of the Copernicus Border Surveillance Services.

Copernicus data allow Frontex to achieve its prime objective - to increase situational awareness at the EU external borders by monitoring and mapping, as well as providing risk assessment. In cooperation with Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS) and other relevant stakeholders, Frontex supports national authorities to better detect illegal migration at EU external borders, conduct rescues and save lives at sea and fight cross-border crime.

Frontex is responsible for supporting EU’s external border and law enforcement authorities in the Member States and Schengen Associated Countries, ensuring that Earth Observation data is combined with complementary information to provide a range of services to its stakeholders.  The Border Surveillance Component of the Copernicus Security Services complements the portfolio of services and products provided by Frontex to Member States and other stakeholders through Eurosur Fusion Services (EFS). Thanks to Copernicus data, Frontex can enhance and upgrade its service portfolio, systems and technologies.
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