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European Agency for the Management of External Borders – Frontex

This regulation sets up the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) to improve the integrated management of the Union’s external borders.

ACT

Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union [See amending act(s)].

SUMMARY

The European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) is set up in response to the need to improve the integrated management of the external borders of the European Union (EU).

Although responsibility for the control and surveillance of external borders lies with Member States, the agency will facilitate the application of existing and future EU measures relating to the management of these borders.

In this context, “external borders” means Member States' land and sea borders, airports and seaports to which the provisions of EU law on the crossing of external borders by persons apply.

Tasks of the agency

The main tasks of the agency are to:

  • coordinate operational cooperation between Member States as regards the management of external borders;
  • develop a common integrated risk assessment model and prepare general and specific risk assessments;
  • help Member States train their national border guards by developing common training standards, providing training at European level for instructors of national border guards, holding seminars and offering additional training to officials of the competent authorities;
  • monitor research relevant to the control and surveillance of external borders;
  • assist Member States in circumstances requiring increased technical and operational assistance at external borders;
  • provide Member States with the necessary support in organising joint return operations. The agency may use the Union resources available for this purpose and must draw up an inventory of best practice for the removal of third-country nationals residing illegally in Member States;
  • deploy Rapid Border Intervention Teams to Member States under urgent and exceptional pressure due to, for example, a massive influx of illegal immigrants.

Without prejudice to the competencies of the agency, Member States may continue cooperation at an operational level with other Member States and/or third countries where such cooperation complements the action of the agency. Member States must report to the agency on such activities where they are conducted outside the framework of the agency.

Structure and organisation of the agency

The agency is an EU body with legal personality. It is independent in relation to technical matters and is managed and represented by its executive director. The executive director, who is independent in the performance of his/her duties, is appointed for five years by the management board on the grounds of merit, documented administrative and management skills, and relevant experience in the field of management of external borders. He/she is assisted by a deputy executive director.

The management board also adopts the agency’s general report, work programme and staffing policy and establishes the agency’s organisational structure. It is composed of one representative from each Member State and two Commission representatives. Each Member State also appoints an alternate, while the Commission appoints two alternates. The term of office of management board members is four years, renewable once.

Countries associated with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis participate in the agency and appoint each a representative and an alternate to the management board.

With regard to communication, the agency is responsible for publishing its general report, as well as for providing the public and any interested party with objective, reliable and easily understandable information on its work.

The agency is funded by an EU grant, a contribution from the associated countries, fees for services provided and voluntary contributions from Member States. The financial rules applicable to the agency are adopted by the management board after consulting the Commission.

The management board commissions an independent external evaluation of the implementation of this regulation within three years from the date the agency takes up its responsibilities and will commission a similar evaluation every five years thereafter. It will issue recommendations based on the findings of these evaluations.

The agency takes up its responsibilities on 1 May 2005.

Background

The aim of EU policy in the field of external borders is to set up integrated management ensuring a high and uniform level of checks on persons and surveillance as a prerequisite for the establishment of an area of freedom, security and justice. In its communication of 7 May 2002 entitled "Towards integrated management of the external borders of the Member States of the European Union", the Commission advocated the setting-up of an "external borders practitioners' common unit" tasked with managing operational cooperation at Member States’ external borders.

The plan for the management of the external borders of Member States, agreed by the Council on 13 June 2002, endorsed the setting-up of the external borders practitioners' common unit as a means of establishing integrated management of the external borders. However, this unit has demonstrated structural limitations as regards coordination of operational cooperation.

This regulation is in response to the request made by the Thessaloniki European Council in its conclusions of 16 and 17 October 2003. It builds on the experiences gained from cooperation between Member States within the common unit, over which the agency takes responsibility for coordinating operational cooperation.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004

26.11.2004

-

OJ L 349 of 25.11.2004

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 863/2007

20.8.2007

-

OJ L 199 of 31.7.2007

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 13 February 2008 – Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency [COM(2008) 67 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
In response to the Hague European Council, the Commission submitted a political evaluation of the agency. Its short-term recommendations include exploiting to the full the database of national technical equipment, merging joint operations with the European Patrols Network (EPN), acquiring equipment for Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABIT) and having Frontex manage the ICONet and take over the activities of the Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on the Crossing of Frontiers and Immigration (CIREFI).
The Commission also makes long-term recommendations for Frontex's involvement in the:

  • mechanism of Schengen evaluations of Member States' external borders;
  • European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR);
  • acquisition of equipment and recruitment for the creation of a European Corps of Border Guards.

Council Decision 2005/358/EC of 26 April 2005 designating the seat of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union [Official Journal L 114 of 4.5.2005].
This decision establishes the seat of the agency at Warsaw, Poland.

Arrangements

Council Decision 2010/490/EU of 26 July 2010 on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Arrangement between the European Community, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein, of the other part, on the modalities of the participation by those States in the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union [Official Journal L 243 of 16.9.2010].

Council Decision 2007/511/EC of 15 February 2007 on the conclusion, on behalf of the Community, of an Arrangement between the European Community and the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway on the modalities of the participation by those States in the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union [Official Journal L 188 of 20.7.2007].
The objective of the arrangement is to involve Norway and Iceland in Frontex. Under the regulation establishing the agency, countries associated with the development of the Schengen acquis participate in the agency. The arrangement is intended to set out the details of the participation of Norway and Iceland (the voting rights of their representatives on the Frontex management board, their financial contribution, data protection and recognition of the legal status of Frontex in Icelandic and Norwegian law).

Last updated: 24.11.2010

See also

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