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09 June 2021

Frontex’s support for EU’s external borders management not sufficiently effective

The Special Report published by the European Court of Auditors (ECA)
The EU’s border agency Frontex has not been sufficiently effective in helping Member States and Schengen associated countries in managing the EU’s external frontiers, according to a special report published by the European Court of Auditors (ECA). Frontex’s support is not adequate to combat illegal immigration and cross-border crime, say the auditors.
As well as concluding that Frontex has not fully implemented the mandate it received in 2016, the auditors also cast doubt on its capacity to effectively implement the new operational role that has been assigned to it.

Frontex was created in 2004 to address the EU’s border concerns – terrorism, trafficking, and migrant smuggling, for example – together with national authorities. Frontex’s mandate has gradually expanded since its creation, as has its budget (from €19 million in 2006 to €460 million last year).

In 2016, Frontex received a clear mandate to support Member States in combating illegal immigration and cross-border crime. However, the auditors found gaps and inconsistencies in the information exchange framework, which hinders the capacity of Frontex and the Member States to monitor external borders and to respond when necessary. Moreover, risk analysis and vulnerability assessment activities are not always supported by complete and good-quality data. Finally, the joint operations in the framework of the cross-border crime are not yet sufficiently developed in Frontex’s day-to-day activities. The auditors also point out an absence of reporting on Frontex’s efficiency and costs. Although it communicates extensively about its activities, Frontex rarely analyses its performance or the impact of its activities. Nor does it provide information about the real cost of its joint operations.
To fulfil its new mandate, Frontex will have up to 10 000 operational staff at its disposal by 2027 (workforce of 750 in 2019), though it is not yet clear that they will be able to function as intended. Its budget is due to double to around €900 million yearly – a large figure which was decided without any attempt to determine what Frontex will need to carry out its new mandate, and without any assessment of its impact on Member States. As a result of all this, given that Frontex has not yet adapted to the requirements of its 2016 mandate, the auditors consider that it is not yet ready to implement its 2019 mandate effectively.


Read the Special Report 

(
June 9, 2021)