FRONTEX: FRONTEX A Research on Practices at the External Borders of the European Union

Mikkel Gottlieb, Simon Hjorth & Pelle Madsen

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


Over the course of the last three decades, the EU has experienced increasing economic and political integration. The inclusion of several Central- and Eastern European countries in the Union has altered the size of the EU substantially (Cini et. al. 283-286). The highly developed freedoms of movement within the Union, combined with the ongoing expansion of the European borders have however presented the European nation states with new challenges. The increasing migration flows from the Southern and Eastern borders of the EU are one of these new challenges, which have created a growing pressure to manage the external borders of the Union, not just individually but collectively as well. To share the economic burden for the member states at the external borders, a common solution to the problem where sought in order to secure necessary measures, such as technical expertise in terms of surveillance, information sharing, border control personnel etc., to lessen the pressure of ‘illegal’ immigration into the EU. An EU agency was established as a common solution to the migration flows. FRONTEX represented this common solution. Parallel with this progress, ongoing development in terms of institutionalizing basic Human Rights occurred; notably after the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, where the Charter of Fundamental Rights legal basis was ascertained. Aspects of these basic rights also binds the personnel at the external borders, and thus links up to the institutional development of the EBM. The member states at the external borders (EB) are therefore duty bound to make sure that practice adheres to these laws and principles. There are thus two very different, but equally important aspects of the management of the external borders: A security aspect and a humanitarian aspect. The strains on the budgets throughout Europe, and the relatively costly burden that ‘illegal’ immigrants present to the member states (MS), have the potential to threaten the internal social, political, and economic situation in the nations. If the MS most exposed to immigration do not manage to secure their external borders or simply sends ‘illegal’ immigrants further into the EU, chances are that border controls would re-appear within the EU. On the other hand, the FRONTEX EBM as well as MS border management are duty bound to respect the Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR) following the signing of the Lisbon treaty. Along these two aspect's line, this research report seeks to explore how FRONTEX institutionally has developed, is it a common EU project inherent with its values, or merely an agency of security? In many aspects, FRONTEX is an operative institution, one of its essential roles being to set up Joint Operation at EB’s in need of support. It is therefore essential to study the practices of EBM in order to get an understanding of the interrelation between the upper institutional processes and the concrete practice. In connection with this point, this research report seeks to explore if the institutional practices translates into the practices at the External Borders, concretely in the case of Greece. Greece is a relevant object of study due to the vast amount of immigrants seeking to enter the Greek borders. Related, FRONTEX operations have to take account of many other aspect than just surveillance and apprehensions of illegal immigrants. The political climate in Greece is torn apart and its economy in deep recession, likely not a positive factor in terms of supplying the necessary facilities and procedures in line with the CFR. The Greek state is economically ill equipped in terms allocating resources to deal with its EB and FRONTEX therefore has a clear role in coordinating and helping to secure the EBM

UddannelserEU-studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato21 jun. 2013
VejledereJesper Dahl Kelstrup


  • External Border Management
  • Greece
  • Practices
  • Home Affairs
  • Human Rights
  • Third Country Nationals
  • Security