|Motto||Libertas Securitas Justitia
"Liberty Security Justice"
|Formation||October 26, 2004 (ratified)
May 1, 2005 (established)
Frontex (from French: Frontières extérieures for "external borders", legally: European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union) is the European Union agency for external border security. It is responsible for co-ordinating the activities of the national border guards in ensuring the security of the EU's borders with non-member states. Frontex is headquartered in Warsaw, Poland.
Frontex was established by Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2004. The agency started to be operational on October 3, 2005 and was the first EU agency to be based in one of the new EU states—from 2004.
Frontex' mission is to help EU Member States implement EU rules on external border controls and to coordinate operational cooperation between Member States in the field of external border management. While it remains the task of each member state to control its own borders, the Agency is vested with the function to ensure that they all do so with the same high standard of efficiency.
Staff and resources
The Agency is managed by its Executive Director, Ilkka Laitinen. The agency initially struggled to recruit staff due to its location in Warsaw, which offered lower pay than some other cities, and the unclear agency mandate. As of February 2012, the Frontex website lists its secretariat as consisting of 272 seconded national experts, temporary, auxiliary and contract staff.  The dependency of the organisation on staff secondments has been identified by external auditors as a risk, since valuable experience may be lost when such staff leave the organisation and return to their permanent jobs. 
Special European forces of rapidly deployable border guards, called Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABIT), were created by EU interior ministers in April 2007 to assist in border control, particularly on Europe's southern coastlines. Frontex's European Patrols Network began work in the Canary Islands in May 2007 and armed officers were deployed to the Greco-Turkish border in October 2010.
Patrols carried out by Frontex are contributed to not only by EU members, but by other Schengen area countries such as Iceland, which sent the coast guard vessel Ægir to Frontex patrols in the Atlantic ocean (south of Canary islands) and the Mediterranean in 2010. Frontex uses the EU-funded Sea Horse advanced satellite system to track ships.
In an NGO Statement on International Protection presented at the UNHCR Standing Committee in 2008 a broad coalition of non-governmental organisations have expressed their concern, that much of the rescue work by Frontex is in fact incidental to a deterrence campaign so broad and, at times, so undiscriminating, that directly and through third countries – intentionally or not – asylum-seekers are being blocked from claiming protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention.
According to European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and British Refugee Council in written evidence submitted to the UK House of Lords inquiry, Frontex fails to demonstrate adequate consideration of international and European asylum and human rights law including the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and EU law in respect of access to asylum and the prohibition of refoulement.
In addition ECRE and British Refugee Council have expressed a worry with the lack of clarity regarding Frontex accountability for ensuring compliance with international and EC legal obligations by Member States involved in Frontex coordinated operations. This is compounded by the lack of transparency, and the absence of independent monitoring and democratic accountability of the Agency.
In September 2009, a Turkish military radar issued a warning to a Latvian helicopter patrolling in the eastern Aegean—part of the EU's Frontex programme to combat illegal immigration—to leave the area. The Turkish General Staff reported that the Latvian Frontex aircraft had violated Turkish airspace west of Didim. According to a Hellenic Air Force announcement, the incident occurred as the Frontex helicopter—identified as an Italian-made Agusta A109—was patrolling in Greek air space near the small isle of Farmakonisi, which lies on a favorite route used by migrant smugglers ferrying mostly Third World migrants into Greece and the EU from the opposite Turkish coastline. Frontex officials stated that they simply ignored the Turkish warnings as they were not in Turkish airspace and continued their duties. Frontex later took photographs of the Turkish Coast Guard escorting illegal immigrants towards Greek waters and the photos accompanied by written evidence were submitted to EU authorities.
Another incident took place on October 2009 in the aerial area above the eastern Aegean sea, off the island of Lesbos. On 20 November 2009, the Turkish General Staff issued a press note alleging that an Estonian Border Guard aircraft Let L-410 UVP taking off from Kos on a Frontex mission had violated Turkish airspace west of Söke.
Operation Hermes is the surveillance of the Mediterranean between Italy and North Africa. In this period the no-fly zone with Libya came into effect and combat operations started on 20 March 2011. The Netherlands has a Coast Guard Dornier 228 aircraft with air force crew and Portugal an air force C-295MPA stationed at Malta and and Pantelleria
Risk Analysis Reports
Frontex annually releases a report that presents an analysis of events related to border control as well as to illegal border crossing and different forms of cross-border crime. In the latest report (as of 2012) it was found that one of the main hot-spots for illegal entry in the EU is the Eastern Mediterranean route, specifically at the land border between Greece and Turkey. There, more than 55 000 detections were recorded in 2011, representing a 12% increase on the previous year, and the number of detections increased steadily throughout the year.
- Schengen Agreement
- Area of freedom, security and justice
- European Commissioner for Home Affairs
- Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
- Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters
- Geography of the European Union
- Countries bordering the European Union
- Aegean dispute
- Staff woes hit EU border agency BBC News
- "More about Frontex". Frontex. 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-12.
- "External evaluation of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union". Cowi. January 2009. Retrieved 2012-02-12.
- EU agrees rapid reaction anti-immigration units euobserver.com
- EU border agency starts sea patrols euobserver.com
- Pop, Valentina. "/ Justice & Home Affairs / EU to deploy armed patrols at Greek-Turkish border". Euobserver.com. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- demy f.r. says: (2010-05-03). "Icelandic cruiser on EU border security patrol duty | IceNews - Daily News". Icenews.is. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- Omolesky, Matthew (12 August 2010) "Irregular Crossings" American Spectator (Special Report)
- "NGO Statement on International Protection: The High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges". UNHCR. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- "ECRE/BRC joint response to House of Lords inquiry on Frontex". ECRE. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri - Turkish Armed Forces, "Airspace violations in the Aegean".
- "Latest Frontex patrol harassed". Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- byNick Iliev (2009-09-21). "Turkish coast guard caught escorting smugglers into Greece - report - South Eastern Europe". The Sofia Echo. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- "Newest Frontex patrol harassed". Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- "Annual Risk Analysis". Frontex. 2012-05-19. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- Official website
- Founding act of Frontex (PDF)
- Access to Protection in Europe—European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)