EU PROTECTS > Mūsų saugumas > Guarding the gateway: How the EU helps secure Europe’s land borders

“At the border, time is always against us. We have to act fast, work together and use the limited information we have to make split-second decisions.”

Piotr Wiciejowski

Stolen vehicles, fake passports, drugs and firearms – contraband can be found at any border. Criminals move fast, and cross-border cooperation is essential to stay one step ahead of them. Border officers, document inspection experts and vehicle registrars are all part of this complex puzzle. The EU border protection agency works with all of them to make sense of the information they have and reduce criminal threats at every entryway to the EU. 

At the border crossing between Poland and Ukraine, border officers and inspectors from all over Europe are helping Polish authorities crack down on cross-border crime.

Guarding the gateway: How the EU helps secure Europe’s land borders

At any border crossing into Europe, officers need to be able to act fast and rely on each other to detect fake passports, seize stolen cars and prevent criminal activity. Follow the EU border officers helping their Polish colleagues patrol the crossings between Poland and Ukraine, keeping citizens safe and criminals in retreat.

Slinkti, kad būtų tęsiama

Pieter Prins

Dutch, Frontex Centre of Excellence for Combating Document Fraud


“Border guards need to decide within seconds whether to allow a person through, or to carry out further document checks. Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, sends teams to European countries to help national officers control who – and what – enters and exits Europe.”

“My team of document experts provides information to local police and border officers, so they can make quick and accurate judgements at any border crossing, all over Europe. If we just look at the EU’s eastern land border, 1,500 fake identity documents were seized in 2018.”



“Day in, day out, we make sure border officers across Europe have the information they need to detect and stop document fraud.”

 - Pieter Prins

Tomáš Ševčík

Czech, Document Inspection Expert, Frontex team at the Medyka border crossing


“I check passports at the Medyka border crossing between Poland and Ukraine. Forged IDs are a profitable business for organised crime groups. A fake European passport can cost a few hundred euros. If it’s used to enter the EU illegally, a fake ID can be a key part of a wider criminal plan.”

“Cooperation between European countries is crucial to tackle the trade of illegal documents, which in turn helps us combat crime more effectively. That’s what my team is doing here in Poland.”

“Forgery techniques are always evolving, and we need to continue sharing updates on how to spot them.”

 - Tomáš Ševčík

Boštjan Paveo

Slovenian, Stolen Vehicles Expert, Frontex team at the Korczowa border crossing


“In my first few days at the border, we found 3 stolen vehicles at once: 2 cars and a lorry. It was like a jackpot! Our Polish colleagues checked the EU’s security database. One of the cars had been stolen in Germany and was going to be sold in Poland. Without the close cooperation of our teams in Germany and Austria, we wouldn’t have been able to find the stolen vehicles so quickly.”

“At the border, we’re like a family. Our Frontex team and local officers help each other.”

 - Boštjan Paveo

Piotr Wiciejowski

Polish border guard at the Medyka border crossing


“When a border officer needs to check a document, or get information on a person or object fast, Frontex officers can quickly contact their headquarters or other colleagues all across Europe, which is crucial to stop crime.”

“We’ve learnt a lot from the Frontex team. But they also learn from us. It works both ways – we share expertise, contacts and language skills.”

“Thanks to this European cooperation, we can secure our borders more effectively.”

 - Piotr Wiciejowski

Did you know?


The number of stolen cars (in full or in parts) intercepted at the EU’s external land borders in 2018.


The number of fraudulent documents detected at the EU’s external borders in 2018. About 1,500 of these were seized at the EU’s Eastern land borders.

A common border

The Schengen area comprises 26 European countries that have agreed to remove passport and all other types of control at borders between them. However, to enter or exit the area, everyone must go through passport checks. Frontex officers help secure these entryways. The Schengen area has 7,721 km of land border and 400 million citizens.

Eastern promises

Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, has 150 officers at 27 border crossing points on the EU’s Eastern land borders, including Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia. In total, Frontex has 1,200-1,700 officers patrolling the EU’s sea, land and air borders at all times.

24/7 helpdesk

The Centre of Excellence for Combating Document Fraud, located at Frontex headquarters in Warsaw, will soon work around the clock to help EU border guards detect fraudulent passports and IDs.

The Schengen Information System

gives border patrol in every EU country information on criminal activities across Europe (including on people suspected of involvement in terrorist organisations or activities).


Some of them may even come from your country.

Connected by the EU, there is a network of local heroes working together to tackle the problem of people smuggling, control migrant flows and keep our borders secure. From police officers to prosecutors, rescue teams to asylum coordinators, discover how the EU supports local heroes in your country.