Brussels 30 June 2005
Vice President of the European Commission Franco Frattini, responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, and Luxembourg Justice minister Luc Frieden, on behalf of the EU Presidency, are in Poland today for a visit to the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States (FRONTEX Agency). After an excursion to the Eastern border of Poland and of the European union, at the Korczowa crossing point, Mr Frattini and Mr Frieden jointly inaugurated the Agency by addressing the second meeting of the Management Board of the Agency.
“With this Agency” stated Vice President Frattini and Minister Frieden, “we have finally in place at European level an efficient operational cooperation mechanism for the national border guards. The visit to the external border has further strengthened our confidence in our capability to establish and maintain an area of freedom, security and justice for everyone living in the EU. The spectre of international terrorism, the human tragedies of victims of trafficking and the equally sad and grave consequences of illegal immigration into the EU, are constant reminders that we need to do even more to combat the many and diverse threats facing this area.”
Vice President Frattini added: “The European citizens rightly expect us to find efficient solutions to these security problems. But these solutions must always fully respect human rights and preserve the integrity of the common, free travel area provided by the Schengen cooperation.”
“The Frontex Agency, Minister Frieden added, will be an important tool for operational cooperation between the border guards of the Member States which will join efforts in common operations at the EU’s external borders. This is an important new step in the direction of an integrated system of external border management. Further to the Agency being an important tool for the EU internally, it will also become the focal point for our cooperation with the outside world in the field of border controls, whether neighbouring countries or global strategic partners”.
The Agency will coordinate/assist the competent services of Member States responsible for implementing the Schengen acquis on control of persons at the external borders (national border guard services). The Management Board of the Frontex Agency met for the first time in Warsaw, on 25 May 2005. It adopted its Rules of Procedure and elected Commander-in-chief of the Royal Marechaussee Minze Atte BEUVING of the Netherlands as Chairperson. Major General Jozsef BENDEK of Hungary was elected Deputy Chairperson. The Management Board, on the basis of the short list submitted by the Commission, appointed Colonel Ilkka LAITINEN of Finland as Executive Director of the Agency.