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). Nevertheless, EU auditors have found that Frontex is still not satisfactorily supporting Member States in managing the EU’s external borders.
“Frontex’s tasks at the EU’s external borders are essential for the fight against cross-border crime and illegal immigration”, said Leo Brincat, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “Nevertheless, Frontex is currently not discharging that duty effectively. This is especially worrying at a time when Frontex is being given added responsibilities.”