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European Border and Coast Guard Agency

Frontex logo

Frontex headquarters in Warsaw ( Warsaw Spire )
English name European Border and Coast Guard Agency
French name Agence européenne de garde-frontieres et de garde-côtes
Polish name Europejska Agencja Straży Granicznej i Przybrzeżnej
Organization type European Union Agency
status Establishment of European public law with its own legal personality
Seat of the organs Warsaw , PolandPolandPoland 
Chair FranceFrance Fabrice Leggeri , Frontex Executive Director
founding October 26, 2004

The European Agency for the Border and Coast Guard (English European Border and Coastguard Agency , EBCG), also Frontex called ( acronym for French frontières extérieures , external borders' ), in cooperation with the EU Member States responsible for control of the external borders of the European Union .

The agency of the European Union (EU) based in Warsaw was founded in 2004. From 2005 to 2014 the Finn was Ilkka Laitinen , and the French Fabrice Leggeri has been the head of the agency since January 2015 . Its tasks and resources were significantly expanded in several steps by October 2016. Until October 6, 2016 it was called the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the EU .


The Swedish patrol boat Poseidon is part of the European Coast Guard
A Frontex police officer monitors the EU's external border

The agency coordinates the operational cooperation of the EU member states in the field of protecting external borders , supports the member states in the training of national border guards and, among other things, sets common training standards. It also carries out risk analyzes, follows developments in research relevant to the control and surveillance of the external borders, assists Member States in situations that require increased technical and operational assistance at the external borders and provides the necessary assistance in organizing joint return operations between Member States. According to the EU internal security strategy , Frontex should make a greater contribution to fighting crime at the borders in the future.

The legal basis was created by Regulation (EC) 2007/2004 issued by the Council of the EU on October 26, 2004 to establish a European agency for operational cooperation at the external borders of the European Union, supplemented by that of Parliament and the Council on July 11, 2007 Adopted Regulation (EC) 863/2007 "on the mechanism for the formation of rapid response teams for border security purposes, namely amending Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2004 with regard to this mechanism and the regulation of the tasks and powers of the seconded officers". Frontex then started work in May 2005.

Main fields of activity

  • the risk and hazard analysis with regard to the EU's external borders and the ensuing assurance of a balanced distribution of the existing surveillance and security resources along the border. The risk analysis is carried out using the Common Integrated Risk Analysis Model (CIRAM) developed in 2002 by an EU group of experts . The Risk Analysis Center (RAC), which was previously commissioned with the preparation of risk analyzes and was founded in Helsinki in 2003, handed this task over to Frontex and was closed on May 1, 2005.
  • the coordination of operational cooperation between member states in the surveillance of the EU's external borders
  • supporting member states in training border guards at national borders and introducing uniform training standards
  • Monitoring research in the field of security technology and advising the security authorities of the Member States on modern technologies for border security
  • the support of Member States in situations that immediately require increased technical and human needs
  • assisting Member States in organizing return operations, d. H. Deportation of persons from third countries
  • close cooperation with EU partners such as Europol and CEPOL
  • the coordination of the cooperation with the security authorities from third countries

A proposal for a Regulation of the European Commission stipulates expressly undertake the task forces involved in a maritime applications, each in during use distress ship located and to provide each person in distress help.

On April 16, 2014, the European Parliament voted on the external sea borders regulation . This refers to the new Directive 2013/32 / EU (Asylum Procedure Directive) and regulates the handling of refugee boats by Frontex with the implementation of advanced border controls at sea. At the same time, it is made clear that Frontex has a duty to rescue at sea and is no longer allowed to push immigrant boats away or force them to return to the open sea (see also asylum policy of the European Union and immigration to the EU via the Mediterranean ). The guideline stipulates disembarkation in certain transit countries and prohibits disembarkation in countries where those who have been apprehended or rescued are in danger of life or freedom.

Funding and Resources

Annual budget in millions of euros

According to its expanded 2015 budget, the agency had 336 employees in the reporting year. In addition, it had 78 employees seconded from participating States. In 2019 there were 1,500 employees.

The budget consists of contributions from the Schengen member states and, in individual years, contributions from Norway , Iceland , Ireland and the United Kingdom . In 2005, the agency had 6.2 million euros at its disposal, in 2006 over 19.2 million euros, in 2007 over 22.2 million euros and in 2008 over 70 million euros plus a reserve budget of 13 million euros. In 2011 the budget was 118 million euros, but fell to 85 million euros in 2012. Since then the budget has been increasing continuously. It rose from 142 million euros in 2015 to 460 million euros in 2020.

In 2009, Frontex had 20 aircraft, 25 helicopters and 100 boats to carry out its tasks.

In 2021, the agency's budget is expected to be 1.6 billion euros. This will then also finance your own ships, cars, drones and equipment.

Agency history

For operations, the agency relied on the concept of so-called Rapid Response Teams for Border Security Purposes (RABIT), units that are deployed in exceptional and urgent cases for a limited period of time. The technical equipment required for this is provided, if required, via a catalog specially created for this purpose, the Centralized Record of Available Technical Equipment (CRATE).

In February 2011, the agency complained that it was busy at the Greek-Turkish border because the number of illegal border crossings had risen to 100 to 250 per day. More equipment and financial support are needed to secure the borders. It is also important to democratically strengthen the countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Laitinen said if people want to get across the border, they will. "We can't shoot them."

On September 13, 2011, the EU Parliament in Strasbourg approved with a large majority more powers for the European border protection agency Frontex. The agency can now request its own border guards and purchase its own equipment such as helicopters and vehicles. This means that it is no longer so dependent on the allocations from the EU countries. In addition, a human rights officer should ensure that fundamental rights are observed during operations in the future. The RABIT units were now named European Border Guard Teams (EBGT)

On October 6, 2016, Frontex was given more rights and resources. Following a resolution by the European Parliament, the agency was given its own 1500-strong standing force and the right to rent aircraft itself. It is planned to build up a reserve of 10,000 emergency services by 2027.

History of Frontex operations


Frontex has several areas of application in which operations are usually described with identical code words:

  • Poseidon / Poseidon Country : Eastern Mediterranean, v. a. Greece, Bulgaria
  • Hera : Canary Islands / West African coast
On August 11, 2006, a Frontex mission began to monitor the Canary Islands ("Operation Hera II"). In 2006 around 31,000 refugees landed here on overcrowded boats. That was almost as many as in the four years before. Most came from Senegal , Mali , Mauritania , Gambia and Niger . Their boats mostly started from the Senegalese coast, about 1300 kilometers away from the islands. This was probably a reaction to the blocking of the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla ; there again, higher barbed wire fences prevent people from getting through.
  • Nautilus : Mediterranean Sea between North Africa and Malta / South Italy.
  • Amazon : international airports, control of immigrants from Latin America
  • Hermes 2011 : Operation on the Italian Mediterranean island of Lampedusa
The first Frontex representatives of the Hermes mission in 2011 were “screeners” and “debriefer”: These are employees from different EU member states who are supposed to identify and question the boat refugees on Lampedusa - including about the transport routes. Such specialists mostly come from the border protection of the countries involved in the operation.
  • RABIT Operation : November 2010 to February 2011, border between northern Greece and Turkey
The RABIT operation was replaced in March 2011 by the Mission Poseidon 2011 Joint Operation and operates in the Evros area.
  • Eurocup 12 : in the course of the European Championship 2012 in Poland and Ukraine
  • Xenios - Zeus
  • Aspida - sign: Greek-Turkish border, August 2012 to April 2013.
  • Poseidon Land and Sea: Greek- and Bulgarian-Turkish border and sea route from Western Turkey and Egypt to Greece and Italy, 2013
  • Neptune: From June / July 2013 in Hungary and Croatia ( follow-up conference November 2013 in Vienna, 1st Western Balkans Conference )
  • Triton - is regarded as the successor to the Italian sea rescue mission Mare Nostrum . As a result of the 10-point plan for migration, which the EU adopted on April 20, 2015, the budget of this mission, together with that of Operation Poseidon, was increased to 9 million euros. The joint budget of the two operations is now roughly the same as that of Mare Nostrum.
  • Themis replaced Triton on February 1, 2018.
  • The first Frontex mission outside the EU began in Albania in 2019 .

Frontex organized and financed a European collective deportation on June 3, 2009 from Vienna to Nigeria, and another (German-Polish) mass deportation on June 8, 2009 from Berlin to Hanoi (Vietnam).

In October 2010, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström announced that up to 90% of illegal immigrants reach the EU through Greece. Athens called on border guards from the EU agency Frontex. With its long coastline and numerous islands, the Greek border is difficult to control. The problem has not yet been contained (as of March 2012). In March 2012, Germany, Austria and five other EU countries demanded better border protection from Greece in order to stop the illegal entry of refugees.

On the Bulgarian border with Turkey, in Swilengrad , Frontex experts from Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania, Germany and Austria were already working with the Bulgarian border police in 2011.

Greek and Turkish border troops are involved with Frontex as "end users" in an EU research project to develop surveillance robots. Autonomous land robots with surveillance cameras are being developed to detect vehicles, people and “dangerous substances”. In order to accommodate the prisoners, the government in Athens announced the construction of 30 new deportation prisons.

Frontex signed an agreement with the Turkish Republic in June 2012 aimed at intensifying cooperation. In return, Turks are to receive EU visa relief.

Incidents, human rights violations, criticism

Refugees from Senegal described in Report Mainz , broadcast on October 5, 2009, how their boat was brought up at sea: “We only had three days to go when a police ship stopped us. They didn't want to give us water. They threatened to destroy our boat if we don't turn back immediately. We almost died of thirst and had bodies on board. Nevertheless, we had to go back to Senegal. ” Amnesty International , Pro Asyl and the Evangelical Development Service unanimously confirm such reports at Report Mainz's request.

Numerous human rights organizations criticize Frontex in connection with military refugee defense measures in the Mediterranean region. A legal opinion of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) comes to the conclusion that the EU border guards outside the territories of the EU states - i.e. also on the high seas beyond the 12-mile zone - are working on refugee and human rights are bound. As a result, refugees caught in the middle of the sea have the right to apply for asylum. Nor should they be deported if they are at risk of persecution or mistreatment. In order to prevent refugees from reaching the Mediterranean coast, Frontex also supports the establishment of camps in remote desert areas. These include the Kufra oases and Sabha in Libya .

In several Turkish media it was speculated that on August 25, 2011 there was a possible use of firearms by border guards as part of the Frontex operation “Poseidon Land” against migrants on the Turkish-Greek land border . A group of migrants tried to cross the Evros (Meriç) between Turkey and Greece with rubber dinghies, when reports from the Greek side opened fire on the boats. Upon request, the German Federal Government was not aware of anything even after contacting members of the Federal Police on site and the national authorities responsible.

On March 1, 2012, smugglers are said to have opened fire on Frontex officials at night on the Greek-Turkish border river Evros after being threatened. The officers allegedly returned fire, the police reported, according to the state broadcaster. Two people were injured. Among them are a suspected smuggler and a migrant. A similar incident had already occurred in May of last year.

In October 2013, Frontex director Ilkka Laitinen admitted that Frontex had pushed refugee boats into the Mediterranean several times a year and had deported refugees without an asylum examination procedure , even under threat of violence . The European Court of Human Rights condemned the EU regulation on which this practice is based as a human rights violation and declared it null and void. Laitinen stated that these " push-back actions " were not acceptable, but the statistics showed five to ten times a year such cases in which such a suspicion had to be investigated.

In December 2014, after the incident with the freighter Blue Sky M , Frontex claimed that the refugees on the ship had been abandoned by tugs. Reports that the ship was believed to have drifted off the coast of Corfu on December 30, 2014 turned out to be false. There were refugees on board, but at no point was their life in danger. The bogus SOS message with which Italian rescuers were called on board had nothing to do with the condition of the ship and its crew.

In April 2015, Frontex director Klaus Rösler was pelted with a jam bag in Berlin. The place for his presentation Frontex: How does European border security work? he could only reach with police security.

In August 2016, The Intercept published an article with Frontex documents; According to this, in March 2014, officials of the Greek coast guard shot a fast smuggler's boat in the Aegean Sea , which had not stopped despite repeated requests. A total of 16 holes were found in the boat later.

Demonstration against Frontex in front of the headquarters in Warsaw, 2008

In August 2019, media reports were published that Frontex tolerated human rights violations such as excessive violence at the EU's external borders by national border officials and even violated human rights themselves on deportation flights. The allegations are based on the evaluation of internal Frontex documents by the ARD political magazine report Munich , the daily newspaper The Guardian and the Correctiv research center . A spokeswoman for the EU Commission promised to investigate the allegations.

Research by several cross-border media ( Der SPIEGEL , Lighthouse Reports , Bellingcat , Report Mainz and TV Asahi ) shows that Frontex was also present at pushbacks in the Aegean in 2020, tolerated these practices and also practiced them in at least one case by a Frontex -Boat drove past a refugee boat at high speed in order to push it off towards Turkey.

See also


  • Roberta Mungianu: Frontex and Non-Refoulement: The International Responsibility of the EU . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2016, ISBN 978-1-107-13357-0 .
  • Simon Neumann: The European border protection agency Frontex. Integrated external protection and humanitarian standards. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-428-14283-5 .
  • Andrew W. Neal: Securitization and Risk at the EU Border: The Origins of FRONTEX. In: Journal of Common Market Studies , 2009, pp. 333–356.
  • Militarization Information Center (Ed.): Frontex - contradictions in the extended border area (= materials against war, repression and for other conditions . Vol. 7). Tübingen 2009 (PDF; 1 MB) .
  • Andreas Fischer-Lescano , Timo Tohidipur: European border control regime . Legal framework of the European border protection agency FRONTEX. In: ZaöRV . 2007, pp. 1219-1276.
  • Mark Holzberger: Europol's little sister. The European Border Guard Agency "FRONTEX". In: Bürgerrechte & Polizei / CILIP , No. 84 (2/2006), August 2006, pp. 56–63 (online) .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Frontex Agency to Move into Warsaw Spire . In: The Warsaw Voice . December 23, 2012. Accessed October 21, 2015.
  3. Regulation (EC) No. 2007/2004 of the Council of October 26, 2004 on the establishment of a European agency for operational cooperation at the external borders of the member states of the European Union , accessed on May 22, 2013 . In: Official Journal of the European Communities.
  4. Stock, In: Gunter Widmaier (Ed.): MAH criminal defense. § 83 Rn. 75.
  5. Federal Police compact 1-2009, p. 20, ISSN  0302-9468 .
  6. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. EU Internal Security Strategy, COM (2010) 673 of November 22, 2010 , accessed on January 13, 2014 .
  7. See Reinhard Priebe: European Commission: EU Strategy for Internal Security. In: EuZW. 2011, 2, 3.
  8. Fischer-Lescano / Tohidipur, ZaöRV 2007, 1219, 1229f.
  9. Frontex - FAQ ( Memento from November 20, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Frontex - Tasks ( Memento from November 20, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  11. Article 9 (1), Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders within the framework of the operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the management of operational cooperation at the external borders of the Member States of the European Union / * COM / 2013/0197 final - 2013/0106 (COD) * /
  12. Javier Cáceres: EU Commission and countries argue about sea rescue. In: October 18, 2013, accessed October 25, 2013 .
  13. ^ Minutes Wednesday 16 April 2014 - Strasbourg, provisional edition, 7.22. Monitoring of the external sea borders (vote). European Parliament, April 16, 2014, accessed April 27, 2014 .
  14. Bendel: Disembarking refugees violates their right to asylum. In: Deutsche Welle. April 15, 2014, accessed April 27, 2014 .
  15. EU border protection. No push-back: Stricter rules for Frontex. In: Wiener Zeitung. April 17, 2014, archived from the original on April 27, 2014 ; Retrieved April 27, 2014 .
  16. Commentary: Frontex in the Mediterranean. No asylum on the high seas. In: April 2, 2014, accessed April 27, 2014 .
  17. Frontex Amended Budget 2015 N3 - 11/06/2015 ( Memento from December 18, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  18. The overwhelmed authority. In: . August 6, 2019, accessed August 7, 2019.
  19. See above: European Parliament adopts budget 2008. EuZW 2008, 37.
  20. Frontex - FAQ accessed on July 17, 2020.
  21. ^ Albert Scherr: Internal security and social insecurity. Security discourses as projective processing of fears determined by societal structure? In: Axel Groenemeyer (Hrsg.): Ways of the security society . Social transformations of the construction and regulation of inner insecurities. 1st edition. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-17798-4 , p. 29.
  22. a b Niklas Nau, Anna Tillack: Frontex - An EU agency and dealing with human rights. In: . August 6, 2019, accessed August 7, 2019.
  23. Ilkka Laitinen : Frontex - Facts and Myths. Frontex News Release. June 11, 2007, accessed August 7, 2019.
  24. Christoph Schult: 'The Situation is Escalating': Europe's Frontex Border Guard Stretched to Limit. on: , February 21, 2011.
  25. EU Parliament strengthens Frontex agency - More staff should better protect Europe's borders , in:, accessed on September 13, 2011.
  26. Regulation (EU) No 1168/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council. In: Official Journal of the European Union. October 25, 2011, accessed on August 7, 2019 (English, specifically Article 3b and footnote 18).
  27. More power for Frontex. In: . October 6, 2016, accessed August 7, 2019.
  28. Advance at G6 meeting - Seehofer wants to have asylum applications checked at EU borders. In: October 29, 2019, accessed October 29, 2019 .
  29. Kasparek, Bernd; Wagner, Fabian (2012): Local Border Regimes or a Homogeneous External Border? The Case of the European Union's Border ( Memento of October 8, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 1.9 MB), in: IMIS contributions 40/2012, pp. 173–190.
  30. Website of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior: Border Police Department Minister Tsvetanov: Focus on smuggling on the green border , of December 22, 2011.
  31. Answer of the Federal Government (18/1446) to a small question from the Die Linke parliamentary group (18/1292) , of June 3, 2014.
  32. ^ Sicco Rah: Asylum seekers and migrants at sea. State rights and obligations from an international law perspective. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-540-92930-7 , p. 239f.
  33. Frontex - Annual Report 2006 ( Memento of June 22, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF, English)
  34. Troendle, Stefan: Frontex starts mission “Hermes 2011” , in: , February 20, 2011.
  35. Frontex Press Release March 2011 ( Memento from May 6, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  36. Matthias Monroy: NATO is also at the EM opening game in Warsaw , on May 31, 2012.
  37. ^ Poseidon Land ( Memento from December 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) ; Poseidon Sea ( Memento of December 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) ,> Archive of operations.
  38. ^ Neptune. ( Memento of September 1, 2017 in the Internet Archive )> Archive of operations.
  39. The EU ten point plan for migration ., May 5, 2015.
  40. In new EU sea mission, ships not obliged to bring migrants to Italy . Reuters February 1, 2018, accessed April 12, 2018
  41. First Frontex mission outside the EU . from May 21, 2019, accessed on August 5, 2019
  42. ^ Protest against mass deportation to Nigeria., June 3, 2009
  43. Mon 08/06/09 Berlin SXF: Air Berlin / FRONTEX mass deportation to Vietnam. ( Memento from June 9, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Refugee Council Berlin.
  44. Europe urges Greeks to better protect their borders. on: , March 8, 2012.
  45. Ivan Dikov: Frontex Spokesperson Michal Parzyszek: Ties with Turkey, Border Control Investments Help Bulgaria Tackle Illegal Migration. In: , May 27, 2011.
  46. Tobias Klaus, Mathias Fiedler: If you live here, you will be a sad man. In: Hinterland Magazin. 20th July 2012.
  47. Matthias Monroy: Panzergraben, Grenzzaun, guard robots and more German police. In: , May 15, 2012.
  48. ^ Jürgen Gottschlich: Deployment in Turkey. In: , June 3, 2012.
  49. EU drives thousands of boat refugees back to Africa , Report Mainz, accessed on March 4, 2012.
  50. Why the Stop Dying Campaign? Pro Asyl ( Memento from September 28, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  51. Legal opinion of the ECCHR ( Memento from October 22, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  52. Dirk Godenau u. a. (Ed.): Immigration Flows and the Management of EU's Southern Maritime Borders. CIDOB editions, December 2008, p. 55. ( Memento of April 10, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (English)
  53. Global Detention Project: Libya Detention Profile ( Memento from June 15, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (English). Information based on reports from Human Rights Watch and Fortress Europe (Italian), accessed April 1, 2011.
  54. Written questions: With the answers received from the Federal Government in the week of September 5, 2011 , (PDF; 3.1 MB), accessed on March 4, 2012.
  55. Incident on the Greece-Turkey border: smugglers shoot Frontex officials , Focus , accessed on March 4, 2012.
  56. Frontex admits violations of human rights , Deutschlandradio , accessed on October 17, 2013.
  57. Stefan Stuchlick: pushed by Europe's border guards. ( Memento from October 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) In: , October 17, 2013.
  58. Push-backs contrary to international law - European complicity , Pro Asyl of November 7, 2013.
  59. Refugee Ship : How Frontex Twists the Truth . In: Panorama , February 19, 2015.
  60. Italian soldiers board freighters with hundreds of refugees. In: Die Zeit , December 30, 2014.
  61. Refugee Ship : How Frontex Twists the Truth . In: Panorama , February 19, 2015.
  62. Frontex director in Berlin pelted with jam . In: Focus , April 23, 2015.
  63. Attack on Frontex operations manager Rösler in Berlin . ( Memento from April 26, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) In: . April 23, 2015.
  64. Zach CampbellZach Campbell2016-08-22T14: 24: 44 + 00: 00: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show. In: The Intercept. Retrieved October 9, 2016 .
  65. Report: Frontex tolerates excesses of violence at EU external borders. In: . August 5, 2019, accessed August 7, 2019.
  66. Violence under Frontex: EU Commission promises clarification. In: . August 5, 2019, accessed August 7, 2019.
  67. Maximilian Popp, Steffen Lüdke, Emmanuel Freudenthal, Giorgos Christides, DER SPIEGEL: Frontex involved in illegal pushbacks by refugees - DER SPIEGEL - politics. Retrieved October 25, 2020 .

Coordinates: 52 ° 13 ′ 57 ″  N , 20 ° 59 ′ 5.6 ″  E