Wednesday 22 April 2009, by Jeandesboz Julien
Deliverable No. 264
Police Logics and Intelligence Lead Logics in a Risk Society. Information sharing and borders: the role and limits of Frontex 
Acronyms ACT Ad-hoc Centre for Border Guard Training
AFSJ Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
CIRAM Common Integrated Risk Analysis Model
CIREFI Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on the Crossing of Frontiers and Immigration (Council of the European Union)
CIS Customs Information System
CRATE Central Record of Available Technical Equipment
DG JLS Directorate General Justice Liberty Security (European Commission)
DG Relex Directorate General External Relations (European Commission)
EC European Communities
ESBC Eastern Mediterranean European Sea Border Centre
EPN European Patrol Network
EU European Union
FIS Frontex Information System
IBM Integrated Border Management
JSBCC Joint Sea Border Cooperation Centre
OCTA Organised Crime Threat Assessment
RABITs Rapid Border Intervention Teams
RAC European Risk Analysis Centre
SCIFA Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum
SIS Schengen Information System
SNE Seconded National Expert
TECS The Europol Computer System
VIS Visa Information System
WSBC Western Mediterranean European Sea Border Centre
Introduction – Liberty, security and EU borders.
Borders lie at the heart of the European project. Historically, the European political project has been underpinned by a discourse on the necessary liberalisation of movement, on the freedom of individuals to move across borders as a way to overcome chauvinist trends in European national politics and supersede state practices in the control of borders and territory that were seen as leading towards exclusion, hostility, and war. This orientation came to be encapsulated in the so-called ‘four freedoms’, enshrined in Community law by the 1957 treaty of Rome.
For almost forty years, the focus of the European construction was on the borders between the member states of the EC/EU, via the question of the common market and the circulation of capitals, goods, persons and services. The ‘external borders’ remained under the authority of national governments and were not discussed in the European governmental arenas. The issue of borders was constituted mainly as an economic issue in Community discussions: the movement of persons, the most crucial question for individual freedoms and fundamental rights, was primarily defined in terms of economic activities. The liberalisation of movements of persons was hence first instituted as the movement of workers and economically-active persons (service providers), and was only much later extended to other categories, such as pensioners, students and tourists, but still within an economic logic (these groups were conceived of as service recipients). ‘External borders’ only became a topic for European discussions in the mid-1980s, with the signing of the 1985 Schengen accord and its subsequent 1990 application convention. While the Schengen process has sometimes been presented as a ‘laboratory’ (e.g. Monar, 2001) for justice and home affairs policies and the liberalisation of the movement of persons, one needs to take stock of the fact that Schengen embodied an altogether different logic from European developments regarding borders at the time. Schengen envisaged an area of passport-free circulation where border checks for persons would be abolished, but whose setting-up nonetheless required ‘compensatory measures’ in the form of reinforced controls at the external borders of the area hence instituted. Rather than a complement to EC/EU measures, Schengen thus appeared as a competitor to these measures, with member states ministries of Interior, border guard, police and customs agencies in the driving seat.
The ‘communautarisation’ of Schengen by means of the incorporation of its formal dispositions in Community law after the entry into force of the treaty of Amsterdam on 1 May 1999 therefore brought together under the same legal umbrella and policy programme (the so-called European ‘area of freedom, security and justice’, AFSJ) conflicting logics with regard borders and border management, a tension which has substantially influenced subsequent developments. Current European affairs reflect this tension, and how it has apparently been resolved in favour of the ‘Schengen logic’ which has established security as the core element of the AFSJ (e.g. Balzacq & Carrera, 2006; Bigo, 2006b). Firstly, in recent years, debates in the European arenas about borders, border management and its effects, have largely moved away from questions related to ‘internal borders’ between EU member states to matters related to ‘external borders’. As an illustration, the consolidation and adoption in December 2006 by the European Council, under the auspices of the Finnish presidency, of a formal definition of ‘Integrated border management’ EU-style (IBM – see European Council, 2006), has focused almost solely on these ‘external borders’. Secondly, discussions about borders and border management have predominantly focused on the modalities for the necessary control and surveillance of EU borders, particularly with regard individuals on the move, and as a precondition for any form of liberalisation of movement of persons – mainly with close-by third countries (the so-called ‘neighbours’). This has led to very abrupt formulations, such as the one that has emerged from Council deliberations on an integrated border management strategy: ‘Border management is a security function in which all Member States have a common interest that stems from the Schengen arrangement. First and foremost, border management is an area of policing, where security interests have to be met while fully recognizing the commitments in the field of international protection and human rights’ (Council of the European Union, 2006a: 3).
The setting-up of a ‘European agency for the management of operational cooperation at the external borders of the Member states of the European Union’ (Frontex) seems to resonate with these orientations. Frontex was formally created in order to contribute to ‘a uniform and high level of control and surveillance, which is a necessary corollary to the free movement of persons within the European Union, and a fundamental component of an area of freedom, security and justice’ (Council of the European Union, 2004b: 1). Initially however, it seemed that the creation of the agency would remain a relatively epiphenomenal development: as the following pages will highlight, Frontex, despite being a first-pillar agency and a treaty-based organisation in a domain where preferences usually go to ad-hoc institutions such as Europol and Eurojust (Bigo & al., 2006), has been in practice largely under the influence of an intergovernmental logic, with experts from member states forming the bulk of its staff, and its competences narrowed down to the ‘management of operational cooperation’ with border management staying firmly within national governmental arenas. Considered in isolation, Frontex thus stands out as a largely symbolic set-up, which polarises the attention of the media and the professionals of politics, but is relatively shallow in terms of concrete activities. However, if put in a broader perspective, i.e. if we examine the agency in a relational perspective, taking into account its evolving ties with other EU and member states security agencies, a different picture emerges. In this regard, while not having the staff or the formal competence for direct operational activities, Frontex seems in the process of becoming a node in the exchange of information, particularly operational information, with regard border management but also for the control and surveillance of populations on the move in the context of the so-called ‘fight against illegal migration’.
The present paper then aims at investigating the evolving relations in the European field of the professionals of (in)security in the context of the setting-up of Frontex, with particular attention being dedicated to the issue of information and information exchanges. It seeks to reflect, by means of such an analysis, on the role and limitations of Frontex, as well as on the impact that these evolving relations might have for the fundamental freedoms and rights of EU citizens and third-country nationals alike.
The piece falls into two parts. In the first section, we will look at the genesis of Frontex, and provide analytical elements on the organisation and current activities of the agency. We conclude by suggesting that the practices underpinning the setting-up and the activities of Frontex can be characterised as fivefold: facing the emergency, predicting the future, policing through knowledge, controlling through technology, functioning through confidentiality. Building on these elements, the second section sets out to provide a relational analysis of the exchanges of information that occur with regard border management, pointing out how Frontex is increasingly becoming a node in this respect, but also highlighting how exchanges of information about borders currently mainly involve information about movements of persons, and in this respect raise crucial questions about fundamental freedoms and rights.
1. Genesis, organisation, and current activities of Frontex
Frontex is the most recent and arguably the best publicised step taken so far in the domain of border management at the EU level. The setting-up of the agency, however, is the outcome of a rather long process which is a tribute to the complexity and political sensitivity of border questions. One needs to note, in this respect, that the institutional shape taken by Frontex was miles away from initial propositions, which envisaged the creation of a European border corps.
Frontex was formally created by Council regulation 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004. The opening statement of the document argues: «Community policy in the field of the EU external borders aims at an integrated management ensuring a uniform and high level of control and surveillance, which is a necessary corollary to the free movement of persons within the European Union, and a fundamental component of an area of freedom, security and justice» (Council of the European Union, 2004b: 1). The consensual formulation of the statement should not, however, shadow the fact that the setting-up of the agency is the by-product of competitions between agents positioned within the European policy-making arenas. Conflicting interpretations about the shape and orientations of the future agency took in particular root in diverging views on the matter of Community competence with regard to the management of the external borders of the European Union and its Member states. The following table proposes a short chronology of the genesis of Frontex that includes the most prominent standpoints taken on the issue.
Table 1: Indicative chronology of the setting-up of Frontex 14-15 December 2001: Presidency conclusions of the Laeken European Council ask from «the Council and the Commission to work out arrangements for cooperation between services responsible for external border control and to examine the conditions in which a mechanism or common services to control external borders could be created» (European Council, 2001: point 42).
7 May 2002: Commission communication «Towards integrated management of the external borders of the Member States of the European Union». In the document the Commission «recommends creating anExternal borders common practitioners unit» (European Commission, 2002: 13).
13 June 2002: Council (General affairs) adopts a «Plan for the management of the external borders of the Member States of the European union» (Council of the European Union, 2002a). Council agrees to the setting-up of the «common practitioners unit», indicating that it would be «meeting within the framework of SCIFA" (Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum). Unit starts functioning as the steering committee of SCIFA + during the second half of 2002.
3 June 2003: In its communication «On the development of a common policy on illegal immigration, smuggling and trafficking of human beings, external borders and the return of illegal residents» (European Commission, 2003), the Commission provides a short evaluation of the work conducted by the Common practitioners unit. The document highlights: «…the concept of the Common Unit […] should be reviewed: certain more strategic coordination tasks could remain with SCIFA +; the more operational tasks could be entrusted to a new permanent Community structure able to exercise this day-to-day management and coordination tasks and to respond in time to emergency situations» (European Commission, 2003a: 8).
11 June 2003: Greek presidency submits a report on the programmes, pilot projects, centres and joint operations in the field of border management (Council of the European Union, 2003c). It points out the «absence of a monitoring mechanism and of a method for independent and thorough evaluation as well as for the processing and utilisation of results», as well as the need to examine «the necessity of a new institutional structure in order to enhance operational cooperation for the management of external borders» (Council of the European Union, 2003c: 36, 37).
19-20 June 2003: In the presidency conclusions, the European Council at Thessalonica «invites the Commission to examine […] the necessity of creating new institutional mechanisms, including the possible creation of a Community operational structure, in order to enhance operation cooperation for the management of external borders» (European Council, 2003: 4).
20 November 2003: Commission puts forward a proposal for a regulation to establish the new agency (European Commission, 2003b). The aim of the proposal is «to render more effective the implementation of Community policy on the management of the external borders by better co-ordinating the operational co-operation between the Member States by the creation of an Agency [...] to facilitate the application of existing and future Community measures relating to the management of external borders by ensuring the co-ordination of Member States’ actions in the implementation of those measures» (European Commission, 2003b: 4). The envisaged structure would therefore «simply assist Member States in implementing Community legislation in the fields of control and surveillance of the external borders and removal of third-country nationals» (Ibid), this last point being the main modification made to earlier proposals, commented upon by the Commission in the following way: «In comparison with the Common Unit, the Agency has been given the additional task of co-ordinating and organising return operations of Member States and identifying best practices on the acquisition of travel documents and removal of third country nationals from the territory of the Member States. This is justified by the fact that in most Member States, the operational aspects of removal of third-country nationals fall under the competencies of the authorities responsible for controlling the external borders» (European Commission, 2003b: 3).
24 February 2004: Commission proposal sent to European Parliament (consultation procedure) and EP report tabled (Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs). The report engages in particular with two aspects of the proposed Agency. Firstly, while noting that «the creation of an agency […] constitutes an important step» in the engagement of European institutions with the question of the management of external borders, the rapporteur considers that such an agency should «have a ‘more communitarian’ character» (European Parliament, 2004: 30). Secondly, it strongly rejects the involvement of the envisaged organisation in so-called return operations: «The European Parliament does not wish to entrust this task to an independent agency at European level. There would be a clear risk that the Agency gets the character of an «expulsion agency» […] in this specific case there would also be a danger of insufficient direct democratic control of such kind of operational activities» (Ibid:12). The report further notes in this respect that the European Parliament is «against a proposal that puts the cart before the horse in the sense that it is premature to set up such an operational structure without harmonised standards on for example the definition of a refugee. Common legislation on immigration and asylum is still largely missing but proposals and initiatives on specific aspects of return […] continue to be made» (Ibid: 31).
25 October 2004: Following the overall rejection of the opinion of the European Parliament by the Commission, the Council adopts Regulation 2007/2004.
As it currently stands then, Frontex is the resultant of a significant narrowing down of the range of possibilities for external border management at the EU level. While being a Community agency  and an autonomous body  with legal personality, it does not add significantly to Community competences in the sector. Furthermore, and as the comments from the European Parliament opinion cited in Table 1 highlight, it remains entangled in the intergovernmental games of the European arenas. It is the result of the almost-complete marginalisation of the idea of a strong Community side in EU border management, defended by the European Commission and the European Parliament. As such, Frontex is far from a «European border corps» as it is sometimes fantasised in the media and in national political debates, and draws more from the experience of the various ad hoc centres established through SCIFA+ in 2002-2005, in the follow-up to the Council «Plan for the management of the external borders» (Council of the European Union, 2002a) and in the wake of two initiatives: a «Feasibility study on the creation of a European Border Police» (2002)  elaborated jointly by experts from Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Italy (the Italian authorities taking the lead) and a Workshop on Police and Border Security animated by the Austrian, Belgian and Finnish authorities . The ad-hoc centres consisted of:
the EU Risk analysis centre (Council of the European Union, 2003a), proposed by the Finnish delegation at the SCIFA+ meeting of 28 January 2003, established in Helsinki and headed by Ilkka Laitinen, the current Executive Director of Frontex
the EU Air borders centre, proposed by the Italian government (Council of the European Union, 2003f) and based in Rome.
the EU Land borders centre, proposed by Germany (Council of the European Union, 2002c), installed in Berlin.
the EU Sea border centre. The initial proposal developed by the Greek government was for a Joint Sea Border Coordination Centre (JSBCC, Council of the European Union, 2003b). After an intervention from the Italian presidency, another proposal was launched based on a joint initiative by of the Spanish and Greek governments (Council of the European Union, 2003b), which was in fact constituted as two centres, the Eastern Mediterranean European Sea Border Centre (ESBC) in Greece (Council of the European Union, 2003d) which focused on that particular maritime region, and the Western Mediterranean European Sea Border Centre (WSBC) which held responsibility for the Western Mediterranean and all other sea borders of the EU.
the Ad-hoc centre for border guard training (ACT), proposed by the Austrian government, and consequently based in Austria (Council of the European Union, 2003e).
All of these centres were established through ad-hoc agreements between Member states. They shared a series of common tasks (with the ACT and RAC being more specialised), including the elaboration of joint risk analysis and joint training standards, and were based on a «network» logic that entailed in particular exchanges of information. To a large extent, the development of these centres reflects:
The intense competition between member states governments to obtain the setting-up of one of these centres on its territory.
The maintenance of a highly, or even ultra governmentalised (Bigo & Guild, 2002) set of practices with regard to border management.
Following, the perpetuation of these through Frontex, despite its formal belonging to the first pillar.
The profile of the current Executive and Deputy Executive directors of the agency is a further indication of this logic . Ilkka Laitinen used to be, on top of his responsibilities at the national level in the Finnish border guard, and at the European level (in SCIFA and the Common Unit, previously in the Finnish delegation to the EU), the head of the EU RAC in Helsinki. His deputy, Gil Arias Fernandez also played this «double game» of holding responsibilities at the national level, in the Spanish police forces and later at the Spanish Ministry of Interior, while being positioned as well in the European arenas (holding various offices in relation to Schengen, before being appointed as the head of the Spanish delegation to the Common Unit). The professional trajectory of the highest ranking officials of Frontex indicates the strong connections between the agency and Member states authorities, but also the linkage with law-enforcement services (border guard and police). In other words, while the setting-up of Frontex has been framed as a process of streamlining and rationalisation of the practices of operational coordination in the management of the external borders of the EU, it is also, to a large extent, a re-conduction of these practices, albeit under another label.
Frontex started off a relatively small structure, but has developed significantly since its inception:
Staff: In January 2006, Frontex staff numbered 28, including 27 seconded national experts (SNE) from EU Member states border guard agencies and services. In January 2007, Frontex staff had more than doubled, numbering 66 and including 34 SNE. In December 2007, these figures had doubled, with total staff numbered 142, and 67 SNE.
Budget: Frontex overall budget for 2006 was 19.166.300 euros (EC subsidy: 18.940.000 euros). For 2007, the overall Frontex budget had doubled, reaching 42.150.300 euros (EC subsidy: 40.980.000). The overall budget for 2008 is envisaged at 70.432.000 (EC subsidy as adopted by the Budgetary Authority: 68.000.000). In terms of breakdown, the proportion of Frontex budget allocated to operational matters accounted for more than 65% of overall budget for 2006 and 2007.
The direction of the agency is entrusted to an executive director assisted by a deputy executive director (see Annex 1 for the full organisational chart of the agency). Frontex is governed, in addition, by a Management board..
the Management board :composed as indicated in Art.20 of Council Regulation 2007/2004, of one representative for each Member state, one for each country «associated with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis» (Art.20.3) and two for the Commission. Members of the Management board are appointed for a four-year term, renewable once (Art. 20.1). Board members «shall be appointed on the basis of their degree of high level relevant experience and expertise in the field of operational cooperation on border management» (Art.20.2). The Management board elects a Chairperson, whose term in office is of two years, renewable once (Art.21). It is supposed to hold at least two regular meetings a year, and the Executive Director participates in the discussions (Art.23 - but he does not have the right to vote – Art.24.2). The Management board takes decision by absolute majority voting (Art.24.1), and each of its members holds one vote (Art.24.2).
the Executive director: he is in charge of the management of the agency. He prepares and implements the decisions, programmes and activities adopted by the Management board (Art.25.3.(a)). He is also in charge of the proper functioning of the agency, and of exercising authority over Frontex staff. In addition, he prepares annual work programmes and activity reports that are submitted to the Board. He is finally tasked with budgetary activities, such as estimating revenues and expenditures, and implementing the budget. The Executive director is appointed by the Management board out of list of candidates proposed by the Commission (Art. 26.1), by a two-third majority vote of all Members with a right to vote (Art.26.2). The Deputy director is appointed according to the same procedure, on the proposal of the Executive director (Art.26.4). Both officials are selected «on the ground of merit and documented administrative and management skills, as well as his/her relevant experience in the field of the management of the external borders» (Art.26.2 and 26.4). As Art.25.4 underlines, «the Executive Director shall be accountable for his activities to the Management Board»: consequently, the Board has the power to dismiss both the director and his deputy through the same procedure used for his appointment. The Executive director and his deputy, finally, are appointed in office for a five-year term, extendable once (Art.26.5).
Frontex officials:Frontex staff falls into two categories: officials recruited according to the relevant Community regulations, and seconded national experts recruited according to a September 2006 decision of the Management board (Frontex Management Board, 2006). According to this decision, SNE «should enable the Agency to beneficiate from the high level of their professional knowledge and experience», considering that it is «highly desirable to foster the exchange of professional experience in, and knowledge of, European policies relating to the management of the external borders» (point (1) and point (2)). SNE can be seconded by «a national, regional, or local public authority […] from an international civil service as well as […] from the private sector or from the non-profit making or voluntary sector» (Art.1.1). SNE can be recruited from EU Member states, Schengen associated countries, candidate states or other third countries (Frontex Management Board, 2006: point (3)). Professional requirements for the recruitment of SNE include a three-year work experience in relatively high level or highly specialised functions related to the management of external borders, and «a thorough knowledge of one Community language and a satisfactory knowledge of a second language, for the performance of his duties. An SNE from a non-member country must have a thorough knowledge of one Community language for the performance of his duties» (Frontex Management Board, 2006: Art. 8.1 and 8.2).
There are several conclusions to be drawn from this short overview. Firstly, the overall structure of Frontex appears resolutely oriented towards the Member states, rather than towards the Community. The Executive director and his deputy, as envisaged in the formal rules, are appointed to manage the agency, and implement the orientations taken by the Managing Board. This is confirmed by what can be observed of the careers of the current director of the agency and his deputy: both enjoy a rather high bureaucratic profile, while being almost invisible in political arenas. The board, secondly, is largely dominated by Member states representatives coming from border guard services. The representatives from the Commission do enjoy a relatively favourable position since their combined vote weights as much as the vote of two national representatives, but it is nonetheless a rather weak position considering the fact that Frontex is supposedly a first-pillar body. Thirdly, when one looks at the voting rules of the Managing board, it appears that these rules draw largely from intergovernmental practices, since an absolute majority is required for decisions, and a two-third majority for appointing the key officials of the agency. Finally, SNE are strongly valued in the organisation of Frontex. Although the competences required of potential SNE put emphasis on international profiles (as highlighted, for instance, by the language requirements), the rate of turnover implied by the recruitment of a large contingent of SNE gives little chance for Frontex officials to develop a certain amount of autonomy with regard to their national configurations.
Missions and activities
While having been formally set up only at the end of 2004, Frontex seems to have developed its activities very busily since its inception. In this subsection we first look into the formal missions the agency is supposed to pursue, before listing the various activities it has been conducting since its inception.
Table 2: Formal missions assigned to Frontex Article 2(1) of the Frontex regulation stipulates:
The Agency shall perform the following tasks:
coordinate operational cooperation between Member States in the field of management of external borders;
assist Member States on training of national border guards, including the establishment of common training standards;
carry out risk analysis;
follow up on the development of research relevant for the control and surveillance of external borders;
assist Member States in circumstances requiring increased technical and operational assistance at external borders;
provide Member States with the necessary support in organising joint return operations.
The formal missions attributed to Frontex in its regulation therefore fall into three categories:
Technical and operational assistance at the borders: one needs, however, to distinguish between circumstantial assistance and structural assistance. Circumstantial assistance entails the provision of coordination, technical and operational support in specific situations. Structural assistance consists in particular of the provision of training material for Member states.
Provision of expertise: this area covers both risk analysis and follow-up on research being conducted in the field of border management.
Return: Frontex is supposed to provide support to Member states in the organisation and co-ordination of so-called return operations, and particularly for «grouped» operations.
Of these three categories of missions and activities, the competence of Frontex regarding return operations has been the most contested, in particular within the European Parliament. At the same time, the other activities of the agency need to be scrutinised as well. Observers especially point out the fact that one of the core involvements of Frontex so far has been in the provision of risk analyses and feasibility studies to the European institutions (Carrera, 2007; Jorry, 2007). This is very openly acknowledged by Brigadier General Ilkka Laitinen, current head of Frontex and himself one of the drafters of the so-called Common Integrated Risk Analysis Model (CIRAM) applied by EU services and agencies, in a public meeting at the European Parliament: ‘All Frontex activities are based on risk analyses, the «engine» of Frontex activities’ (Laitinen, 2006). The agency has realised a series of risk analyses, including a contribution to the Europol 2006 and 2007 OCTA (‘Organised Crime Threat Assessment’), and at least two feasibility studies .
Frontex has also been involved in circumstantial operational co-ordination and the provision of assistance to Member states. While relatively modest in the first period of existence of the agency, the number of operations coordinated by Frontex has grown regularly and significantly . The first joint operation involving Frontex (ILLEGAL LABOURS) was launched on 5 December 2005. In 2006, the agency was involved in eight joint operations, with a major focus on so-called ‘blue borders’ (borders involving water bodies), in the Mediterranean (operations NAUTILUS 2006, POSEIDON 2006 and AGIOS) and around the Canary islands (HERA I and II). In 2007 these operations amounted to twenty-four (with a twenty-fifth, EUROCUP 2008, for which planning began in 2007). Furthermore, in July 2007, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EC) 863/2007 ‘establishing a mechanism for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams’ (the so-called ‘RABIT Regulation’). Article 1 stipulates that:
This regulation establishes a mechanism for the purpose of providing rapid operational assistance for a limited period to a requesting Member State facing a situation of urgent and exceptional pressure, especially the arrival at points of the external borders of large numbers of third-country nationals trying to enter the territory of the Member State illegally, in the form of Rapid Border Intervention Teams
RABITs are essentially a pool of officials from the border guard agencies and services of the countries participating in Frontex, which can be upon request deployed, under the authority of the requesting country, in order to provide additional support to national border guard agencies and services. In the case where RABITs are deployed, ‘instructions to the teams shall be issued by the host Member State’, while ‘[t]he Agency, via its coordinating officer […] may communicate its views on those instructions […] If it does so, the host Member State shall take those views into consideration’ (Article 5.1 and 5.2). Currently, a ‘pool’ of five to six hundred officials are available for the purpose of RABIT deployments, and an exercise was conducted in the fall of 2007, but no request for RABITs has so far been issued (European Commission, 2008c: 7). Alongside its operational co-ordination activities and the RABIT initiative, finally, Frontex has also been involved in the development of a European Patrol Network (EPN). The EPN came into the picture as a request issued in the Presidency conclusions of the December 2006 Brussels European Council. It currently consists of a permanent joint operation co-ordinated by Frontex with a selected group of Member states (Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain) in specific areas of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, for migration control purposes.
In addition to return operations, risk analyses and operational coordination, Frontex activities have also dealt with the issue of equipments. This has involved the setting-up, at the request of the Council, of the so-called CRATE database (Central record of available technical equipment). This is by all means a relatively modest development: According to the Frontex evaluation produced by the Commission services (European Commission, 2008a: 9-10), the CRATE database currently contains information about slightly over a hundred vessels, 20 aircraft and 25 helicopters, as well as various border surveillance equipments (e.g. radars, thermal cameras). The setting-up of CRATE, however, does not entail that the agency has at its direct disposal a reserve of equipments: these equipments are available to the border guard agencies and services of the Member states border guard agencies.
Finally, the involvement of Frontex in training activities is not to be neglected either. This specific mission has to do with the harmonisation of border guard training in the EU. Frontex has taken over in this respect the tasks of the Ad hoc centre for Border Guard Training created under the authority of the Common Unit in 2003. Available to the agency are training co-ordinators seconded from Member States to perform specific training activities in the framework of Frontex. This includes the putting together of training courses  but also the extension and development of existing or new training tools addressed to national border guards, including the Common core curriculum for border guards across the EU . Frontex training activities also extend in the devising of «training packages» for border guards of third countries. As of December 2006, Frontex has in addition been able to constitute a network of so-called Partnership Academies responsible for the training of border guards at Member state level  that have agreed to conduct common training activities under the leadership of the agency (Frontex Newsroom, 2006).
Analysis: reinforcing the logic of control in the management of the EU external borders
Following on the elements laid out in previous paragraphs, our analysis is that the setting-up of Frontex participates in the reinforcement of a logic of control, in the management of the EU external borders and in the AFSJ. The practices of this logic of control and surveillance that emerge from the analysis of Frontex can be characterised in the following way:
Facing the emergency: Frontex is set up in particular to confront what are considered as emergency situations for the Member states responsible for managing their external borders as external borders of the EU. This also constitutes an encouragement both for Frontex officials and national border guard services to frame developments at the external borders as situations of emergency and crisis, leading to the justification of illiberal practices such as what has been done with regard to the Canary Islands (Carrera, 2007).
Predicting the future: Frontex activities rotate around, and rely on, the development of risk analyses, which tend to consolidate, out of contingent and sometimes erroneous elements, a future that is presented as very likely (see Ragazzi, 2004, for an exploration of this theme). The increasing reliance of European security agencies and services on such allegedly predictive documents is worrisome, in two ways: it reduces their capacity to think outside the predicted scenario, and it also puts them in a position where rights and freedoms can be violated on the basis of a purely hypothetical situation.
Policing through knowledge: Frontex exemplifies the trend, singled out in particular by critical criminologists (e.g. Sheptycki, 2002), to rely on knowledge-based practices in order to carry out activities of social control. The conduct of risk analyses, the reliance on exchanges of information, the emphasis on training, are all part of this set of practices. However, this raises the question of how this knowledge is actually related to concrete situations on the ground.
Controlling through technology: Frontex also highlights the technological bias of current practices related to the management of external borders. The feasibility studies Frontex officials have been conducting focus significantly on the possibilities offered by technology to improve the surveillance networks at the borders. However, controlling through technology, as the case was raised repeatedly about databases, offers very limited possibilities to ascertain that individual rights and freedoms are respected.
Functioning through confidentiality: Frontex activities are also based on practices of confidentiality. The MEDSEA and BORTEC studies have only made partially available; public access to the general and tailored risk analyses Frontex has produced is not possible. This also includes the evaluation reports for the operations coordinated by Frontex (Carrera, 2007). Again, we see here how, rather than bringing about significant changes, the setting-up of Frontex perpetuates practices under another label: the confidentiality of risk analyses, for instance, was also the rule for the studies conducted by the EU RAC. And again, it is important to stress that confidentiality is problematic with regard to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms: operations coordinated by Frontex have a significant impact on these rights and freedoms, for EU citizens but also for migrants from third countries, and as such, the inner workings of the agency should be made more open.
Furthermore, as a broad survey of Frontex activities over the past three years highlights, the agency has focused almost exclusively on movements of persons: 20 out of the 27 tailored risk assessments, general risk assessments and feasibility studies conducted by Frontex deal explicitly with the issue of illegal migration, the same for the 34 joint operations it has coordinated so far. Frontex has further contributed to the general illegitimisation of irregular migration by repeatedly associating it, through its analyses, reports, and operations, with notions of emergency and imminent danger, as well as by systematically associating so-called ‘facilitating activities’ with crime and the activities of organised crime and traffickers’ networks. This raises serious questions as regards the overall impact of Frontex activities in the general orientations of the AFSJ, and even more so in the light of the recent suggestions tabled by the Commission for the future development of the agency and EU border policies at large.
2. Frontex in the perspective of the European field of (in)security professionals
In his address to the Joint Parliamentary meeting co-organised by the European Parliament and the Parliament of Finland, Executive director of Frontex Ilkka Laitinen indicated that cooperation between Frontex and other agencies and services dealing with security matters at the European level was a routine process and indeed stemmed naturally from the functions of his organisation: «In order to duly fulfil its commitments, FRONTEX liaises with EUROPOL, EUROJUST, OLAF, Sitcen and European Satellite Centre. This is simply due to the fact that no threats at the external borders shall be disregarded» (Laitinen, 2006). The Frontex regulation indicates that: «For the purpose of fulfilling its mission and to the extent required for the accomplishment of its tasks, the Agency may cooperate with Europol, the competent authorities of third countries and the international organisations competent in matters covered by this Regulation in the framework of working arrangements concluded in accordance with the Treaty» (Council of the European Union, 2004b: point (12), 2). Table 3 below recalls the various formal dispositions contained in the regulation about relations between Frontex and other bodies/agencies/services:
Table 3: Formal provisions for relations between Frontex and other bodies and services Article 12 of the Frontex regulation provides the framework for relations between the agency and both Ireland and the United Kingdom, stipulating that it «shall facilitate operational cooperation of the Member States with Ireland and the United Kingdom in matters covered by its activities and to the extent required by the fulfilment of its tasks», a scope that includes «the organisation of joint return operations of Member States in which Ireland or the United Kingdom, or both, also participate».
Beyond this, one also needs to take note of other points.
Article 11 («Information exchange systems) of the Frontex regulation stipulates:
«The Agency may take all necessary measures to facilitate the exchange of information relevant for its tasks with the Commission and the Member States».
Article 13 («Cooperation with Europol and international organisations») indicates:
«The Agency may cooperate with Europol and the international organisations competent in matters covered by this Regulation in the framework of working arrangements concluded with those bodies, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaty and the provisions on the competence of those bodies».
Article 14 («Facilitation of cooperation with third countries and cooperation with competent authorities of third countries») states:
«In matters covered by its activities and to the extent required for the fulfilment of its tasks, the Agency shall facilitate the operational cooperation between Member States and third countries, in the framework of the European Union external relations policy».
For the purpose of this paper, we will focus more narrowly on the issues raised by article 11 of the Frontex regulation and the possibility it opens for the agency to participate in exchanges of information. With regard concerns for fundamental freedoms and rights, it is particularly important to investigate whether Frontex, presently or in the future, has or will have access to information systems comprising personal data. Recent orientations, most particularly the Commission’s so-called ‘border package’ of February 2008, raise the issue of the transformation of Frontex into a border intelligence service, or at least a node in an information and intelligence sharing system about EU borders, and renders the impact of Frontex activities in the fundamental freedoms and rights of EU citizens and third country nationals alike even more problematic.
Formal and informal relations between Frontex and other EU security agencies
Relations between Eurojust, Europol and Frontex are worth examining together, because they further confirm the notion that the setting-up of Frontex corresponds to the reinforcing of a logic of control and surveillance in the management of external borders at EU level.
The three agencies are built on different formal settings: Eurojust on a framework decision, Europol on a convention, and Frontex on a regulation. These formal settings constitute important assets, in particular for Europol which has been adept at using its convention-based status to avoid the formalisation of interinstitutional agreements, in particular with Eurojust in favour of relations on an informal basis (the conclusion of formal, legally-binding agreements would indeed require changing the Europol convention, and thus a new ratification process – Mégie, 2006).
With regard to Frontex, Europol has been engaging into the same type of practices. In the analysis of one of the officials involved in these matters in the European Commission:
There are formal mechanisms [of coordination] in the sense that in the Frontex regulation […] there is a specific provision on cooperation with Europol that states that Frontex should have a kind of memorandum of understanding, a working arrangement with Europol, which allows them to exchange among other things information which is crucial for performing their tasks. [Information that goes through Europol] will go to Frontex if it has something to do with fighting illegal immigration and has an impact on Frontex planning of operations, and the same the other way: if Frontex stumbles over something which has to do with criminal networks engaged in illegal immigration, that information should be passed on to Europol for further processing […] This is regulated by an arrangement which is currently under negotiation between Frontex and Europol. Frontex is ready but Europol has been asking for quite some time now for a mandate from the Council to enter into negotiations with Frontex […] and they only recently got it just before Christmas . I assume that in principle they have agreement over what kind of information is necessary for both of them, and I don’t think it is a big issue. We will see it of course afterwards and the Commission will have a say in whether it lives up to the usual standards for this kind of arrangements, and then it will be adopted on the Frontex side by the managerial board 
In other words, the only formalisation of cooperation between Europol and Frontex at the moment is Article 13 of the Frontex regulation, which does not include specifics with regard to the extent and quality of the relations between the two agencies. While Europol has obtained a mandate from the Council in December 2006, no formal agreement has yet been concluded between the two agencies. Consequently, most of the relations that currently exist between Europol and Frontex are conducted on a strictly informal basis, and consist mainly of exchanges of information:
Exchange of operational information: while it is unlikely that Europol and Frontex officials would privilege the sending of information to each other over the sending of information to relevant authorities at the national level, such a circulation is acknowledged by the officials interviewed during this research. Furthermore, Europol has been formally participating in two joint operations coordinated by Frontex (AGELAUS and HYDRA – see Annex 5). In at least one of these cases (HYDRA), the use of the Information System component of the Europol Computer System (TECS) was documented.
Participation in analysis activities: the involvement of Europol in risk analyses concerning border management goes back to the experience of the Common Unit and the various ad hoc centres which preceded Frontex. Officials from Europol held observer status in the support group to the Helsinki EU RAC. It has contributed, for instance, to the so-called ‘Risk analysis on EU external borders’ (Council of the European Union, 2003g). In addition, Europol officials participated among others in the Coordination committee of both Sea Borders Centres. Furthermore, Europol officials have also been involved in the development of the CIRAM (Council of the European Union, 2002b). It is potentially in this domain that the relation between the two agencies is currently the strongest, in particular between the ‘Risk Analysis Unit’ of Frontex and both the ‘Crime Against Persons’ and ‘Analysis Unit of Europol’. Europol has been involved in at least one of the ‘tailored risk assessments’ developed by Frontex (on migratory routes to the EU through the Western Balkans, February 2007), and, as already mentioned, Frontex has contributed to Europol’s 2006 and 2007 OCTA reports.
Informal relations, i.e. not regulated by legal dispositions, have thus largely dominated among security services and agencies with regard to the management of external borders at EU level during the past few years. It seems, then, that the relations between Europol and Frontex are re-enacting this type of practices, despite the initial expectation that the status of Frontex as a first pillar agency would have changed this situation:
I think it has much to do with, let’s say, that can easily happen when you work in a two-pillar system, and you have in one the police cooperation in the third pillar, which is very much still at the international level, at the intergovernmental level, and where, you know, things are done in a certain way, and then you have the supranational part which is represented by Frontex in the third pillar, and where things are done a bit differently. Our way of exchanging information is more formalised in the first pillar than in the third pillar, that’s probably the problem. They’ve been used to exchanging this kind of information on a more needs basis than with Frontex, where Frontex will probably need that kind of arrangement. I don’t think this is going to be a big problem at all .
One should however avoid hasty generalisations. The case of relations between Eurojust and Frontex, here, is a good illustration. One of our interviewees proposed a very illuminating reading of the situation:
They can [engage into an agreement with Frontex] on the same conditions as with Europol, but for the time being – it is something that will happen I am sure – but it is not a priority to set up a cooperation […] Eurojust as I see it is more on the prosecution side, more on, once you actually start a criminal procedure against someone. And in that case, what Frontex can inform Eurojust about is basic information that they would anyway be able to obtain. I am not ruling out that it could be of interest both ways. Maybe Eurojust would be able to get some information that is coming up during procedures that could be of interest, but I’m not… It is not the main priority. The main priority for us – it is important and it will probably happen that we have such an agreement between Europol and Eurojust – but our main interest is that Europol and Frontex are working together on these issues because they are more on the law-enforcement side than Eurojust  While routine, interpersonal relations between Eurojust and Frontex cannot be ruled out, what this statement highlights is the fact that Eurojust and Frontex do not have a formal setting for relations because they are not seen as doing the same thing. Frontex is framed as a contribution to the «law-enforcement», control and surveillance oriented aspect of the AFSJ. Similarity in practices (such as the conduct of risk analyses) is what brings these agencies closer.
Frontex is technically a first-pillar agency, and the Commission holds two seats on its Management Board. Frontex is tied for administrative purposes to Unit B/2 (‘Borders’) of DG JLS:
This is in fact the same for all the Community agencies of the European Union. These agencies of course are independent technically speaking but not politically, so it means they have to follow the overall political line which is set up by the European institutions, in particular Council, Parliament and Commission together. For administrative purposes they are reporting to the Commission service responsible. In this particular case it is DG JLS […] But it is very much from an administrative point of view, this has everything to do with their budget and work plans for next year. Each agency has to produce an annual work plan and also an annual report on how it implements its work. All these things go through the Commission. Of course, in an area where there is so much political pressure on the Community to deliver because the Community has the overall competence, the agency has to liaise very closely with the Commission on how it deals with these issues and the political demands. So as I say, technically an agency such as Frontex is independent, it’s not the Commission which tells them what to do, but the political framework is elaborated in close coordination with us 
The relation of Frontex to the Commission is not, however, limited to DG JLS, but officials from this DG definitely claim for themselves a coordination role in this respect:
Of course Frontex should have an interest for all the DG you mentioned, Relex but also Enlargement, DG TAXUD […] We take the contact between Frontex and the other DG, to ensure let’s say that the Commission always speaks with one voice on these issues, because obviously we have different approaches and different interests in these issues, but we should at least agree before we come up with a position towards, not really an external, but let’s say a more independent body of the European Union, like we would do with the Parliament for instance […] to ensure that we have the same line. From our point of view, it is not so much about, let’s say, again it is not so much a question about the content of the operation, we look whether it makes sense in the overall picture […] They have the professional decision and should also have the margin of appreciation to make that decision. What we look at is how it fits in the political framework and the policies that we are pursuing in the Commission 
However, the strong dependency of Frontex on Member states for everything from the secondment of experts to the agency, to the provision of human and technical means in operational contexts, requires the extent of the relation with the Commission to be nuanced. Clearly, Frontex has been invested by agents coming from the border guard authorities of the Member states, whether at the director level or at the expert level. Furthermore, the coordination of Frontex activities with regard to the Commission is ensured by the DG that is regularly pointed out, within the Commission, as the closest to Member states preoccupations of all the Commission’s directorate generals (Jeandesboz, 2007). Again, we find the idea that while Frontex is formally tied to the first pillar and its main institution, it is practically oriented towards the national authorities of the Member states of the Union.
The relation between Frontex and Member states authorities is a highly complex matter. Member states remain firmly in charge of the concrete management of the external borders of the EU, which makes Frontex activities dependent upon the good will of national authorities, and particularly on the border guard services in each EU country. This situation of dependency extends in various directions:
As we have shown in the previous pages, Frontex is in a situation of dependency in its daily work. The agency is a very light structure, which cannot conduct most of its tasks without the provision of human and technical means by Member states authorities. Furthermore, a large proportion of Frontex officials are seconded national experts, sent for a period ranging from six months to up to two years.
When it comes to operations on the ground, Frontex does not have at its disposal direct human and equipment assets. RABITs, as highlighted above, represents a pool of human resources (similar in its logic to CRATE for equipment) from which Member States can draw in coordination with Frontex, rather that operational capacities available to the agency. The EPN functions accordingly, and none of this actually gives Frontex the status of a European Border Corps per se
In terms of intelligence- and data-gathering, Frontex has also been, up to this point, in a situation of dependency. Risk analyses, for instance, are based on the CIRAM, which requires the submission of questionnaires to Member states. The validity of such risk analyses are thus dependent upon the willingness of national authorities to provide the information. However, as we will see in the following section, this situation is evolving.
Finally, when it comes to training, the situation remains the same. Frontex has very little capacity of its own, and relies in particular on training coordinators seconded by national authorities, and on its network of Partnership Academies.
OLAF: Frontex is not listed among the EU partners of OLAF on the Office’s website. However, as a Community body, the agency is submitted to the investigative powers of OLAF (Art.31 of the Frontex regulation). Furthermore, it is likely that informal exchanges of information take place between Frontex and OLAF, but the extent of these exchanges is currently undocumented.
CEPOL: The European Police College is the central organisation for training of police officials at the European level. It was agreed upon at the Tampere European Council, and initially  set up by a Council decision on 22 December 2000 (Council of the European Union, 2000) that aimed at establishing a «network of existing national training institutes» (Ibid: point (2), 1). CEPOL representatives used to sit on the advisory board of the ACT, which has been integrated into Frontex, and the relations between Frontex and CEPOL mainly involve their common training activities – including the evaluation of training courses with an eye at obtaining cost-effective activities, and the setting-up of common courses.
Sitcen: It is worth indicating that relations between Frontex and Sitcen, while again being completely on an informal basis, are linked to the fact that the agency is conducting intelligence-based missions, for which the Situation Centre, as well as Member state authorities, can provide information. Again, however, the extent of collaboration between Frontex and Sitcen remains undocumented, both in the academic literature and in publicly-available official documents.
Frontex, access to databases and the establishment of an EU intelligence-based system of border management.
There are currently six main EU databases in operation, with the setting-up of several more being envisaged at the moment (see inter alia Broeders, 2007, Brouwer, 2006, Geyer, 2008). The three best known are the Customs Information System (CIS), the Eurodac system which collects the fingerprints of asylum seekers and refugees seeking entry into the EU, and the Schengen Information System (SIS). One needs to include in the list of EU databases the Europol Computer System (TECS) which includes a so-called ‘Europol information system’ (EIS), the Eurojust information system, and the Joint Situation Center (SitCen) system. The CIS, Eurodac and the SIS all feature personal data, with Eurodac being the only one so far comprising biometric identifiers (dactylographic data). While it is very difficult to know with exactitude what is going on with the SitCen, both the TECS and Eurojust store information on persons in a perspective of criminal justice, but also, in the case of the ‘Analytical Work Files’ of the TECS, on possible future offenders; in the meantime, however, they do not store biometric identifiers (Geyer, 2008). Furthermore, several additional EU databases are being envisaged at the moment. The second generation Schengen Information System (SIS-II) and Visa Information System (VIS) enjoy the highest profile in this group, which could also include an EU entry/exit system as envisaged in the Commission’s ‘next steps in border management’ communication (European Commission, 2008c). Both SIS-II and VIS will include a combination of personal data and biometric identifiers, which are the two most sensitive elements in the debates about the impact of databases on the fundamental freedoms and rights of EU citizens and third country nationals. Discussions about the possibility of granting Frontex officials access to some of these databases, in the light of its implication in EU and member states border and migration control policies, initially reached the conclusion that such an access was not necessary. As one of the officials involved in the follow-up of the agency in DG JLS indicated at the time:
…you are on individual files, which in principle Frontex is not allowed to access […] because it is not carrying out border controls as such […] It is border guards of the Member states which, due to their power, have access to the SIS, not Frontex. There is perhaps no need for Frontex to know whether a person is on the SIS or not. Perhaps overall statistics and things like that, that they would get anyway 
There has been no modification in this regard. Frontex officials do not have so far a direct/formal access to the abovementioned databases. The only system of exchange of information to which Frontex has been connected since its inception is the so-called ‘ICONet’ intranet (as of 2007). ICONet is the ‘Information and Coordination Network for Member States’ Migration Management Services’, established by Council Decision 2005/267/EC of 16 March 2005 (Council of the European Union, 2005), and has been operational since 2006 under the supervision of the European Commission. Two key elements are of importance here with regard the functioning of this network. Firstly, as envisaged in the initial Commission proposal (European Commission, 2003c), ICONet ‘is primarily designed to facilitate the exchange of strategic and tactical information on irregular or illegal migratory flows and trends. It is, for the time being, not envisaged to exchange personal data regarding criminal networks involved in smuggling or trafficking of human beings’ (European Commission, 2003c: 2). Secondly, the ICONet decision envisaged the following contents for the network: an ‘early-warning system’ (EWS), a link between immigration liaison officers (ILO), information on documents used in illegal immigration, and ‘return-related’ issues (Art.2.2). The Commission decision implementing Council Decision 2005/267/EC further specifies these contents. The EWS, in this regard
…shall provide for early warning messages relating, in particular, to:
first indications of illegal immigration and facilitator networks;
concentrations of specific nationalities of illegal migrants;
perceptible changes in routes and methods of immigration;
new types of large-scale forgery of travel documents or of other documents assisting third-country nationals to enter and stay in the territory of a Member State;
significant increase in figures of illegal immigrants apprehended at the land, air or sea borders of the Member States;
other events and incidents which herald new developments in the field of illegal immigration and facilitation and which represent a threat such that immediate counter-measures are required (European Commission, 2005:6).
ICONet is further supposed to contain the contact details of ILO central contact points and ILOs of Member States, as well as information on forgeries of documents and smuggling of persons. Finally, ICONet also operates in the field of ‘return’, and gathers a wide range of information regarding the expulsion of irregularly staying persons:
Information exchange on return related issues may include, in particular, information on:
the relevant Community and national law in force in the field of return;
security provisions for removal operations;
best practice in establishing the identity of third country nationals and obtaining travel documents in order to facilitate their return;
incidents which have occurred during return operations, lessons to be learnt;
planned or scheduled joint return flights […]
notification of planned or scheduled transit removal operations;
updated list of national return central points (including names, postal address, telephone and fax numbers, email addresses) (European Commission, 2005: 8).
While not a system designed to hold personal information, ICONet nonetheless signals the emergence of yet another trend in information exchanges and databases in the EU context, namely, the move towards exchanges of intelligence regarding the borders, and, more broadly, persons on the move.
The ‘border package’ recently tabled by the European Commission embodies the development of such a logic. This ‘border package’ comprises three communications: the first one constitutes the ‘report on the evaluation and future development of the Frontex agency’ (European Commission, 2008a), the second one examines ‘the creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)’ (European Commission, 2008b), while the last one is on ‘preparing the next steps in border management in the European Union’ (European Commission, 2008c). All three were prepared by DG JLS, and can be seen as embodying the ultimate efforts of departing member of the Commission Franco Frattini, who went on leave at about the same time the communications were published in order to participate in the campaign for the Italian legislative elections alongside Silvio Berlusconi. Taken together, these three documents potentially bring about major changes with regard the current organisation of the field of the European professionals of (in)security, and particularly for Frontex.
The Frontex evaluation document proposes a series of perspectives for the development of the agency. In relation with the previous discussion, firstly, it notes that:
Frontex should be entrusted with the management of the ICONet, under the present or another technical platform such as the Frontex Information System; this should also aid in ensuring that better use is made of the immigration liaison officers network, which is also connected to the ICONet; and taking over the activities of CIREFI (European Commission, 2008a: 6)
The suggestion is further developed in the impact assessment provided as an annex to the evaluation report (European Commission, 2008d). The impact assessment conducted by the Commission services (DG JLS) envisages three policy options for the future development of Frontex. Option 1 leaves the agency, its competences and activities untouched. Option 2, which is alluded to in the previous quote, would, among other things, put Frontex in charge of managing ICONet, and see the agency take over the activities of CIREFI. The ‘Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on the Crossing of Frontiers and Immigration’ (CIREFI) is a group within the Council, initially set up in 1992, which constitutes a venue for the exchange of information on migratory movements. The first, fax-based version of the EWS now handled through ICONet was initially under the responsibility of CIREFI. Currently, as envisaged in the Frontex evaluation impact assessment:
There is an obvious overlap between the activities covered by CIREFI and the ones carried out by the Agency, with regard to gathering, analysing and disseminating information related to illegal immigration; therefore the need for taking over CIREFI by the Agency seems to be self-evident. Given that information compiled in CIREFI usually have to be treated as restricted, the Agency’s existing document management and security rules would ensure such treatment (European Commission, 2008d: 13).
Alongside the taking-over of CIREFI by Frontex, the evaluation report and its impact assessment further envisage, as part of Option 2, the recuperation of the management of ICONet by the agency. This, however, does not just entail a swap between services. The impact assessment document seems to suggest that in the process, ICONet might be merged within the nascent Frontex Information System (FIS), which is currently being developed by the agency, together with a Frontex Situation and Monitoring Centre which is conceived of as a venue for the collection and redistribution of information about immigration. Should Option 2 be followed, then, it would significantly change the landscape of operational information exchange about movements of persons in the EU, further enhancing the status of Frontex and moving it into an intelligence agency of sorts, with a major focus on movements of persons and migrations.
The third option envisaged in the Frontex evaluation impact assessment document is seemingly a further step, arguably on a longer time frame, down this particular road. Option 3 particularly suggests, alongside other proposals, establishing Frontex as a node in an envisaged EU system of border surveillance:
…FRONTEX could take on the role as a «hub» for an improved system of exchange of real-time, operational information between Member States. In addition, giving FRONTEX access to surveillance information in a more systematic and structured manner could serve as the basis for the development of a ‘FRONTEX intelligence led information system’ targeting the external borders of the EU (European Commission, 2008d: 40).
The proposal should be understood in the perspective of the proposed ‘Eurosur’ system of border surveillance, further detailed in the eponymous communication which also forms part of the Commission’s February 2008 ‘border package’. Preparatory work on the Eurosur communication was conducted by Frontex through its BORTEC feasibility study, as well as by the external consultancy (and regular sub-contractor to the French ministry of Interior) Civipol Conseil (Council of the European Union, 2003h). Border surveillance, as envisaged by the Eurosur communication, is almost entirely geared towards the question of migrations: the first and foremost objective, as stated in the document, is the ‘reduction of the number of illegal immigrants who manage to enter the EU undetected’ (European Commission, 2008b: 3). In this regard, the communication further notes that:
A European Border Surveillance System […] should support the Member States in reaching full situational awareness on the situation at their external borders and increase the reaction capability of their law enforcement authorities (European Commission, 2008b: 4. Emphasis in original).
The communication envisages a three stage process for the development of Eurosur:
Phase 1 would involve building up the capacities of Member States with regard border surveillance and the interconnection of the various systems of border surveillance with Frontex. Drawing from BORTEC and MEDSEA, the communication envisages the creation of ‘National Coordination Centres’ which would be responsible for overseeing all relevant services for border control in each Member State, which would then be connected with each other and with Frontex via a real-time computerised communication network. Frontex would then operate as a European Situation Centre with regard border surveillance.
Phase 2 would involve the development and operationalisation of common EU border surveillance tools, such as so-called ‘Earth observation satellites’ and aerial unmanned vehicles (UAVs), using in particular the funding available under the 7th Framework Programme. The use of common tools is deemed to contribute to the elaboration by Frontex of a ‘common pre-frontier intelligence picture’.
Phase 3, which will deal specifically with maritime areas, is supposed ‘to integrate all existing sectoral systems which are reporting and monitoring traffic and activities in sea areas under the jurisdiction of the Member States and in adjacent high seas into a broader network’ (European Commission, 2008b: 9). Such a network would thus not only include surveillance systems, but would also harness, for security purposes, other systems such as the ones used for civilian protection, maritime safety, and in fishing activities.
The Eurosur communication then takes on where the Frontex evaluation report finishes, namely, by developing the provisions and steps required for establishing the ‘FRONTEX intelligence led information system’. In this respect, Frontex would stand out both as a node in a system of information sharing, and as a provider of intelligence, whether in the form of directly operationalisable indications or through the provision of risk analyses. Eurosur, if carried out under its present form, would then entail a change of scale for the agency. This would also involve moving Frontex into areas that are highly sensitive with regard privacy issues, namely the handling of personal data, which the agency was initially not supposed to need for its tasks. The communication is rather expeditious on this issue, which is dealt with in a short concluding paragraph:
The different activities referred to in the previous sections may involve the processing of personal data. Thus the principles of personal data protection law applicable in the European Union are to be observed, meaning that personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully, collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a way incompatible with those purposes. The processing of personal data within the context of EUROSUR must therefore be based on appropriate legislative measures, which define the nature of the processing and lay down appropriate safeguards (European Commission, 2008b: 11).
The question, however, is how the principle of purposeful collection of personal data and fair processing can apply in a context where the aim is ‘full situational awareness’: by definition, full awareness requires the collection of all available information, regardless of whether this information is pertinent at the moment when it is gathered. In an intelligence-led logic, furthermore, information that is not immediately relevant can also be put aside for future use. Finally, how the proper treatment of personal data can be respected when the stated objective is anticipative, preventive and proactive is an issue that the communication fails to address. For these various reasons, then, the current and future development of EU border management, and the role of Frontex in this process, remains highly problematic for the fundamental freedoms and rights of EU citizens and third-country nationals.
The survey of the development, activities and future prospects of Frontex we have proposed in this paper can lead to several conclusions:
Early on after its inception, it seemed Frontex would remain a rather limited initiative. Its activities, whether in the field of operational coordination, risk analysis or training remained rather modest.
Recent and anticipated developments, however, tell another story. It seems that Frontex is increasingly developing into an information and intelligence node mustered principally for the purpose of migration control.
These developments are problematic. They seem to drag the agency into areas where it was not initially designed to go. One might wonder, in particular, why access to personal data, which was initially deemed unnecessary for the agency’s activities, now seem to have moved into the picture – with no apparent reason justifying this evolution.
Taken in isolation, even those developments would stand out as relatively delimited. With the recent proposals tabled by the European Commission – in particular Eurosur – this interpretation is now changing. In the broader context of measures envisaged for border management and mobility control purposes, furthermore, and in particular with the proposed setting-up of a Community entry/exit system for third country nationals, together with an electronic system of travel authorisation for visa-waiving third country nationals and an automated gate system for EU citizens, all envisaged in the ‘next steps in border management in the European Union’ communication, the prospects for the development of Frontex seem to indicate an unnecessary proliferation of measures aimed at controlling more tightly movements of persons, for which justifications hardly exist.
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Council of the European Union (2004b). Council regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union. Brussels, 26 October, Official journal of the European Communities L349.
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Council of the European Union (2006a). Integrated Border Management; Strategy Deliberations. Brussels, 13926/06, FRONT 207/COMIX 826, 13 October.
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Speeches and other documents
Feasibility study for the setting-up of a ‘European Border Police’. Rome,JHA Ministerial Conference, 30 May 2002.
Laitinen, Illka (2006). Introductory talk to the Joint Parliamentary Meeting initiated by the European Parliament and the Parliament of Finland: «From Tampere to the Hague». Brussels, 2-3 October.
Balzacq Thierry, Carrera Sergio(2006). «The Hague Programme: The Long Road to Freedom, Security and Justice». Security Versus Freedom? A Challenge for Europe’s Future. Thierry Balzacq and Sergio Carrera (eds.), Aldershot: Ashgate: 1-32.
Balzacq Thierry, Bigo Didier, Carrera Sergio, Guild Elspeth (2006). «The Treaty of Prüm and EC Treaty: Two Competing Models for EU Internal Security». Security Versus Freedom? A Challenge for Europe’s Future. Thierry Balzacq and Sergio Carrera (eds.), Aldershot: Ashgate, 115-136.
Bigo, Didier (1996). Polices en réseaux: l’expérience européenne. Paris : Presses de Sciences Po.
Bigo, Didier (2005). «La mondialisation de l’(in)sécurité ? Réflexions sur le champ des professionnels de la gestion des inquiétudes et analytique de la transnationalisation des processus d’(in)sécurisation». Cultures & Conflits, 58, 53-100.
Bigo, Didier (2006a). «Globalized (in)security: the Field and the Ban-opticon». Illiberal Practices of Liberal Regimes: the (In)security Games. Didier Bigo and Anastassia Tsoukala (eds.), Paris: L’Harmattan, 5-50.
Bigo, Didier (2006b). «Liberty, whose Liberty? The Hague Programme and the Conception of Freedom». Security Versus Freedom? A Challenge for Europe’s Future. Thierry Balzacq and Sergio Carrera (eds.), Aldershot: Ashgate: 35-44.
Bigo Didier, Guild Elspeth (2002). «De Tampere à Séville, vers une ultra gouvernementalisation de la domination transnationale?». Cultures & Conflits, 45, 5-18.
Bigo Didier, Bonditti Philippe, Mégie Antoine, Olsson Christian (2006). Judicial Cooperation in Europe and Security Challenge. CHALLENGE, Deliverable 155, WP2, Partner 2 CERI-Sciences Po, Partner 22 Centre for Studies on Conflicts.
Bigo Didier, Carrera Sergio, Guild Elspeth, Walker Rob (2007). The Changing Landscape of European Liberty and Security. Mid-Term Report on the Results of the CHALLENGE project. Brussels: CEPS, Challenge Research Paper n°4, retrieved from: http://shop.ceps.be/downfree.php?item_id=1468.
Broeders, Dennis (2007). «The New Digital Borders of Europe: EU databases and the surveillance of irregular migrants». International Sociology, 22(1), 71-92.
Brouwer Evelien (2006). «Data Surveillance and Border Control in the EU: Balancing Efficiency and Legal Protection». Security Versus Freedom? A Challenge for Europe’s Future. Thierry Balzacq and Sergio Carrera (eds.), Aldershot: Ashgate, 137-154.
Carrera, Sergio (2007). «The EU Border Management Strategy: Frontex and the Challenges of Irregular Immigration in the Canary Islands». CEPS Working Doucments, n°261, March, retrieved from: http://shop.ceps.be/downfree.php?item_id=1482.
Corrado, Laura. «Negotiating the EU External Border». Security Versus Freedom? A Challenge for Europe’s Future. Thierry Balzacq and Sergio Carrera (eds.), Aldershot: Ashgate, 183-203.
Geyer, Florian (2008). «Taking Stock: databases and systems of information exchange in the area of freedom, security and justice». Unpublished manuscript.
Hobbing, Peter (2006). «Integrated Border Management at the EU level». Security Versus Freedom? A Challenge for Europe’s Future. Thierry Balzacq and Sergio Carrera (eds.), Aldershot: Ashgate, 155-181.
Holboth, Mogens (2007). «Frontex and the management of the EU’s external borders». Paper given in the Challenge seminar «Border(s) of the European field of the professionals of (in)security and the border(s) of the European Union», Paris, CERI, 31 January.
Jeandesboz, Julien (2007). «Définir le voisin. Une genèse de la politique européenne de voisinage». Cultures & Conflits, forthcoming.
Jorry, Hélène (2007). «Construction of a European Institutional Model for Managing Operational Cooperation at the EU’s External Borders: Is the FRONTEX Agency a decisive step forward?». Brussels: CEPS, Challenge Research Papers n°6, retrieved from: http://shop.ceps.be/downfree.php?item_id=1483.
Mégie, Antoine (2006). «Généalogie du champ de la cooperation judiciaire européenne». Cultures & Conflits, n°62 : 11-41.
Ragazzi, Francesco (2004). «’The national security strategy of the USA’ ou la rencontre improbable de Grotius, Carl Schmitt et Philip K. Dick». Cultures & Conflits, n°56 : 141-156.
Sheptycki, James (2002). In search of transnational policing: Towards a sociology of global policing. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Annex 1: Frontex organisational chart
Source: Frontex Managing Board, 2006.
Annex 2: CV of Frontex Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director
FRONTEX Executive Director
LAITINEN, Ilkka Pertti Juhani
Born in Nurmes, Finland, on 22 August 1962, married, two children
Duties related to the European Union
Director of the EU Risk Analysis Centre (RAC) (2003 – 2005)
Co-chairman of the Council Working Party Frontiers (1999)
Head of national delegation at the EU Working Party Frontiers 1998 – 2005
National representative at the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA) (1999 – 2002) and the Common Unit of External Border Practitioners (2002 – 2005)
National representative at the Council WP Schengen Evaluation 1999 – 2005
Chairman of the Schengen Visiting Committee in Greece (1999)
National representative at the Schengen Visiting Committee in Greece (1998)
Finnish Representative in the Nordic Schengen Steering Group (1999 – 2003)
Expert of the European Commission to the Turkish project: National Strategy for Border Management (2002 – 2003)
Project Manager: Common Integrated Risk Analysis Model (2002 – 2003)
National co-ordinator at the multinational consortium on the Border Management Project in Central Asia »BOMCA» 2003 – 2005
Co-manager of the joint Austrian, Belgian and Finnish project »Police and Border Security» (2001 – 2002)
Adviser to the Belgian EU Presidency on the project: "EU/Schengen Catalogue; external borders, removal and readmission (recommendations and best practices)" (2000 – 2001)
Member of the ad hoc group at the Greek »Friends of the Presidency» 2002
Representative at the national EU sub-committee 6 on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (1998 – 2000 and 2002 - 2005)
Several lectures and presentations related to the EU border security matters at seminars and workshops
Deputy Head of Division, Frontier Guard HQ (Director of International Affairs) (2002 – 2005)
Counsellor (Justice and Home Affairs), Permanent Representation of Finland to the European Union (2000 - 2002)
Co-ordinator of the Frontier Guard Headquarters on Schengen and EU affairs (1998 - 2000)
Chief Information Officer of the Finnish Frontier Guard (1998 - 2000)
Deputy Commander of the South-East Frontier Guard District (1997 - 1998)
Chief of Operations, Headquarters of the South-East Frontier Guard District (1995 – 1997)
Deputy Regional Border Delegate at the Finno-Russian Border (1997 – 1998)
Secretary of the Regional Border Delegate (1995 – 1997)
Rank and Education
Brigadier General, Border Guard (2006)
Colonel, Border Guard (2004)
General Staff Officer’s Diploma (1995), Border Guard Officer’s examination (1985)
Supreme Staff Officers’ Course (2003), National Defence Course (2004)
FRONTEX Deputy Executive Director
ARIAS FERNÁNDEZ Gil Born in Sober-Lugo, Spain, on 20 August 1955, married, one child
Duties Related to the European Union
Chairman of the «Common Manual» Working Group, during the Spanish Schengen Presidency (1992)
Chairman of the «SIRENE» Working Party, during the Spanish Schengen Presidency (1992)
Chairman of the External Border Evaluation Committee during the Spanish Schengen Presidency (1993)
Officer seconded to the Schengen Presidency (FMAD) in the Schengen Secretariat-General (1996)
Chairman of the European Union Council’s «Frontiers Working Group» (2002)
Head of the Spanish Delegation to the Schengen Evaluation Group (2002)
Head of the Spanish Delegation in the External Borders Practitioners Common Unit, of the European Union Council (2003)
Admission to the Spanish National Police Force in the category of Deputy Inspector (1975)
Appointment as Inspector in the National Police Force (1978)
Appointment as Specialist in Law in the National Police Force (1990)
Since joining the Spanish National Police Force in 1975, in a variety of professional posts, integrated into criminal investigation groups and the fight against crime in general and, more specifically since 1988 participation in the centralised running and management of strategies in the fight against human trafficking and illegal immigration and, in particular, the management of external border controls.
During 2006, Senior Adviser for international matters in the Cabinet of the Minister of Interior of Spain.
Upper Degree in Law from the Autonomous University of Madrid (1987)
Diploma in Tax Law in the Complutense University of Madrid (1988)
Diploma in European Communities in the Diplomatic School of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain (1990)
Lecturer in Private Security Training Centres (1996)
Retrieved from: http://www.frontex.europa.eu/newsroom/executive_profiles.
Annex 3: Frontex Management Board members, 31 December 2006
Country Name Position Representatives of EU Member States Austria Robert Strondl Brigadier General, Department of operational matters, ministry of Interior Belgium Marc Van Den Broeck Police Chief Superintendent, Federal Police Cyprus Savvas Theophanous Superintendent, Commander of Aliens and Immigration Unit, Police Headquarters Czech Republic Jindrich Urban Director, Alien and Border Police Denmark Hans-Viggo Jensen Deputy National Commissioner, Danish police Estonia Roland Peets Lieutenant Colonel, Director General of Border Guard Finland Jaakko Smolander Vice-Admiral, Chief of Finnish Border Guard France Yves Jobic Deputy Director of SDAITS, Central Directorate of Border Police Germany Udo Burkholder Inspector, Federal Police Greece Dimitrios Panopoulos Brigadier General, Head of Aliens Division, Police Headquarters Hungary József Béndek National Commander, Hungarian Border Guard – Deputy Chairperson of the Frontex Management Board Ireland Edward Martin McLaughlin Detective Chief Superintendent, National Immigration Bureau Italy Giovanni Pinto Director, Immigration Service Guards Latvia Gunars Dabolins General, Border Guard Lithuania Saulius Stripeika General, Commander in chief, Border Guard Luxembourg Raoul Ueberecken Adviser, Minister of Justice Malta Andrew Seychell Assistant Commissioner, Special Branch, Police Headquarters Netherlands Minze A. Beuving Lieutenant General, Commander in chief, Royal Marechausse – Chairman of the Management Board Poland Miroslaw Kusmierczak Brigadier General, Commander in chief, Border Guard Portugal Manual Jarmela Paulos Director General, Aliens and Border Service Slovenia Marko Gasperlin Deputy Director, Ministry of Interior Slovakia Michal Borgula Head of the Office of Borders and Alien Police, Ministry of Interior Spain Jose Felipe Hernandez Diaz General Commissioner, Aliens and Documentation Sweden Christer Ekberg Director, Deputy Head of National Criminal Police United Kingdom Tony Smith Director, Immigration and Border Control Service Representatives of non-EU Schengen Member States Iceland Johann R. Benediktsson Police Commissioner Norway Odd Berner Malme Deputy Director, National Police Directorate Representatives of the European Commission DG JLS Jonathan Faull Director General DG JLS Jean-Louis De Brouwer Director, Directorate B. Observers Bulgaria Krasimir Petrov General Commissioner, Director of Border Police Romania Nelu Pop Head, General Inspectorate of the Border Police Switzerland Juerg Noth Commander in chief, Grenzwachtkorps
Annex 4: List of feasibility studies and risk analyses conducted by Frontex, 2005-2007
Date Designation Category November 2005 ‘Assessment of the situation regarding illegal immigration in Ceuta and Melilla’ Tailored Risk Assessment December 2005 ‘General risk analysis 2005 regarding illegal immigration in the EU Member States and Schengen associated countries’ Annual Risk Assessment January 2006 ‘Threat Assessment Winter Olympics 2006’ Tailored Risk Assessment March 2006 ‘Assessment of the new threat of illegal immigration from Mauritania to the EU’ Tailored Risk Assessment March 2006 ‘Brief assessment of illegal immigration flows and routes in the African continent’ Tailored Risk Assessment May 2006 ‘Joint Risk Assessment Frontex/Federal Republic of Germany Regarding Football World Championship FIFA 2006’ Tailored Risk Assessment May 2006 ‘Frontex Assessment of the situation concerning illegal migration flows from Africa to the EU external borders with particular focus on Libya and Morocco’ Tailored Risk Assessment July 2006 ‘Frontex feasibility study on Mediterranean Coastal Patrol Networks – MEDSEA’ Feasibility Study July 2006 ‘Assessment regarding Common Core Curriculum Monitoring System’ Tailored Risk Assessment December 2006 ‘Frontex feasibility study on establishing a European surveillance system covering the southern maritime borders of the EU and the Mediterranean – BORTEC’ Feasibility Study January 2007 ‘Brief summary of illegal immigration routes at the Eastern and South Eastern European external borders’ Tailored Risk Assessment February 2007 ‘Assessment of the situation concerning illegal migration at the EU external borders 2006’ Annual Risk Assessment February 2007 ‘Joint Frontex-Europol Report: Determination of high risk routes regarding illegal immigration in the Western Balkans countries’ Tailored Risk Assessment March 2007 ‘Report regarding the request for expertise on surveillance on the Danube in Romania IISSDRAD’ Tailored Risk Assessment June 2007 ‘Illegal immigration from West Africa towards Europe – Request for Information from the SIAC (EU Joint SitCen)’ Tailored Risk Assessment June 2007 ‘Threat assessment on the external land and maritime borders of the Member States eligible for the External Borders Fund for the year 2005’ Tailored Risk Assessment June 2007 ‘Threat assessment on the external land and maritime borders of the Member States eligible for the External Borders Fund for the year 2006’ Tailored Risk Assessment August 2007 ‘Interim risk analysis report: illegal migration from Algeria to Sardinia’ Tailored Risk Assessment To be completed end 2007/early 2008 ‘Update of the situation regarding illegal migration from China to the EU’ Tailored Risk Assessment To be completed end 2007/early 2008 ‘Asian illegal migration routes through Africa’ Tailored Risk Assessment To be completed end 2007/early 2008 ‘Migration from Iraq – Developments and problems’ Tailored Risk Assessment To be completed end 2007/early 2008 ‘Illegal migration from Ukraine’ Tailored Risk Assessment To be completed end 2007/early 2008 ‘Trafficking in human beings from Ukraine’ Tailored Risk Assessment To be completed end 2007/early 2008 ‘Trafficking in human beings (and minors) focusing on Nigerian nationals with links to sexual exploitation’ Tailored Risk Assessment To be completed end 2007/early 2008 ‘Black Sea as a potential route for illegal migration’ Tailored Risk Assessment To be completed end 2007/early 2008 ‘Impact of Schengen enlargement on illegal migration and cross border offences at the external borders of the Member States’ Tailored Risk Assessment To be completed end 2007/early 2008 ‘Tailored risk assessment regarding EURO 2008’ Tailored Risk Assessment
Annex 5: List of operations coordinated by Frontex, 2005-2007. Designation Duration Contents ILLEGAL LABOURS 5 December 2005 – 6 January 2006 Based on a common request of Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. Joint operation aiming at detecting upon exit individuals who had been working illegally or overstaying in the participant countries, in order to prevent future entries. TORINO 2006 3-26 February 2006 Based on a proposal by Frontex. Joint operation involving increased checks at 24 airports in 15 EU member states (Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom), focusing on trafficking and illegal immigration, on passenger moving to and from Torino airport. FIFA 2006 1 May 2006 – 6 July 2006 Based on a request by Germany. Joint operation supporting the German authorities for the purpose of migration control in the context of the FIFA 2006 World Cup. POSEIDON 2006 25 June – 5 July 2006 Based on a request by Greece. Joint operation focusing on the surveillance of the so-called ‘Eastern Mediterranean region’ for purposes of migration control, including on the Greek-Turkish land border. HERA I 19 July - 31 October 2006 Based on a request by Spain. Joint operation to assist the Spanish authorities in identifying undocumented individuals arriving in the Canaries with the aim of undergoing return operations. AGIOS 15 July – 15 September 2006 Based on a request by Spain. Joint operation to conduct operations of control on passengers from ferries travelling from North Africa into the Spanish ports of Tarifa, Algeciras, Almeria and Alicante. HERA II 11 August - 15 December 2006 Based on a request by Spain. Joint operation to organise and coordinate joint aerial and maritime patrols in the Canaries region. NAUTILUS 2006 5 – 15 October 2006 Based on a request by Italy and Malta. Joint operation focusing on the surveillance of the so-called ‘Central Mediterranean region’ for purposes of migration control, with a focus on Lampedusa and Malta. AMAZON I 1-22 November 2006 Based on a proposal by Frontex. Joint operation involving increased checks at 8 airports in 7 EU member states (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom), for the purpose of immigration control, with a specific focus on nationals from Latin American countries. AGELAUS 1-28 February 2007 Based on a proposal by Frontex. Joint operation involving increased checks at 27 airports in 18 EU member states (Austria, Belgium, Czech republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) for the purpose of immigration control, with a specific focus on unaccompanied minors. HERA III 12 February – 12 April 2007 Based on a request by Spain. Continuation of HERA II. AMAZON II 19 February – 27 March 2007 Based on a proposal by Frontex. Similar in scope and focus to AMAZON I. HYDRA 11 April – 11 May 2007 Based on a proposal by Frontex. Joint operation involving increased checks at 6 airports in 6 EU member states (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia) with the participation of 10 others (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom) for the purpose of immigration control, with a specific focus on Chinese nationals. GORDIUS 16-29 April 2007 Based on a request by Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Joint operation involving increased border checks at the borders between the requesting member states and Moldova for migration control purposes. HERA 2007 (IV) First phase: 23 April – 15 June 2007
Second phase: 12 July – 30 November 2007 Based on a request by Spain. Continuation of HERA II and III, also involving aerial and maritime operations in the territorial waters of Mauritania and Senegal. ARIADNE 29 April – 11 May 2007 Based on a request by Germany and Poland. Joint operation involving increased border checks at the Polish-Belarusian and Polish-Ukrainian borders as well as a segment of the German-Polish border, for migration control purposes. POSEIDON 2007 First phase: 15 May – 3 June 2007
Second phase: 26 June – 15 July 2007
Third phase: 18 September – 7 October 2007 Based on a request by Greece. Joint operation organising common maritime patrols (same area as POSEIDON 2006) and controls at the Greek-Turkish, Greek-Albanian and Bulgarian-Turkish border checkpoints and in Greek and Italian seaports, for purposes of migration control. HERAKLES First phase: 8-17 August 2007.
Second phase: 10-19 October 2007. Based on a request by Hungary. Joint operation involving increased border checks at the Hungarian-Serbian border for migration control purposes. MINVERVA 2007 16 August – 14 September 2007 Based on a request by Spain. Joint operation combining maritime operations off the Spanish coast (Almeria region) with identity check operations in Algeciras, Almeria and Ceuta, for purposes of migration control. NIRIS 7 June – 7 July 2007 Based on a common request by Germany, Finland, Norway, Poland and Sweden. Joint operation focusing on Indian and Chinese nationals in the Baltic sea region, for migration control purposes. NAUTILUS 2007 First phase: 25 June – 27 July 2007
Second phase: 9 September – 14 October 2007 Based on a request by Italy and Malta. Continuation of Nautilus 2006. URSUS I 26 August – 2 September 2007 Based on a request by Slovakia. Joint operation involving increased border checks on the Slovakian segment of the ‘EU external borders’, for immigration control purposes. DRIVE IN 27 August – 11 September 2007 Based on a request by Slovenia. Joint operation involving increased border checks at the Croatian-Slovenian border for migration control purposes and trafficking of stolen vehicles. KRAS 12-22 September 2007 Based on a request by Slovenia. Joint operation involving increased border checks at the Croatian-Slovenian border for migration control purposes. HERMES 18 September – 9 October 2007 Based on a request by Italy and Spain. Joint operation organising patrols in the Mediterranean, for migration control purposes, with a focus on North African countries. URSUS II 23-30 September 2007 Based on a request by Poland. Joint operation involving increased border checks on the Polish segment of the ‘EU external borders’, for immigration control purposes. EXTENDED FAMILY First phase: 7-20 October 2007
Second phase: 3-16 November 2007 Based on a proposal by Frontex. Joint operation involving increased checks at the airports of 5 EU member states (Finland, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain) for the purpose of migration control, with a focus on Nigerian nationals. URSUS III Initiated October 2007 Based on a request by Romania. Joint operation involving increased border checks on the Romanian segment of the ‘EU external borders’, for immigration control purposes. ZEUS 15-30 October 2007 Based on a request by Germany. Joint operation for the conduct of identity and documents checks in the seaports of 13 member states, focusing on seamen, for the purpose of migration control. AMAZON III 7-28 November 2007 Based on a proposal by Frontex. Same focus as AMAZON I and II, with 13 EU member states participating (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom). URSUS IV Initiated November 2007 Based on a request by Hungary. Joint operation involving increased border checks on the Hungarian segment of the ‘EU external borders’, for immigration control purposes. LONG STOP 26 November – 10 December 2007 Based on a proposal by Frontex. Joint operation involving increased checks at airports with 10 EU member states participating (Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland) for the purpose of migration control, with a specific focus on nationals from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. NORTHERN LIGHTS Initiated December 2007 Based on a request by Finland. Details not yet available. EUROPCUP 2008 June-July 2008 Based on a request by Austria and Switzerland. Joint operation which will involve supporting the Austrian and Swiss authorities for the purpose of migration control during the 2008 UEFA European Cup.
 The paper capitalises on the discussions initiated in the Challenge seminar Mapping the Field of Security in Europe organised at the CERI-Sciences Po, Session: «Border(s) of the European field of the professionals of (in)security and the border(s) of the European Union» (31.01.2007) and session «Intelligence, Borders and Surveillance» (21.04.2008). We would like to thank participants to the seminar and in particular Thierry Balzacq, Evelien Brouwer, Sergio Carrera and Mogens Holboth for their invaluable contributions.
 The Frontex regulation is based in Art. 62.2 a) and 66 TEC.
 Including financially, as it is subsidised by the Community in addition to contributions by participant states.
 Our thanks to Mogens Holboth for providing access to this particular document.
 Interview, DG H, General Secretariat of the European Union, Brussels, January 2007.
 The curriculum vita of both officials can be found in Annex 2.
 The list of the members of the Management Board (31 December 2006) can be found in Annex 3.
 The so-called MEDSEA and BORTEC feasibility studies, which deal with the development of joint patrols and the deployment of a European surveillance system in the Mediterranean. At the time of writing, these two documents are not publicly available in full – See Council of the European Union, 2006b, for MEDSEA; a summary of the BORTEC study is available in Annex 7 of the impact assessment document attached to the Eurosur communication (European Commission, 2008e). Annex 4 of the present paper provides a full list of known risk analyses and feasibility studies conducted by Frontex.
 Annex 5 provides a full list of operations coordinated by Frontex in 2005-2007.
 Recent activities organised by Frontex range from training in the detection of false documents or on the Schengen border code to common courses for border guard helicopter pilots.
 Participating countries include Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
 Interview, European Commission, DG JLS, Brussels, January 2007.
 Interview, European Commission, DG JLS, Brussels, January 2007.
 Interview, European Commission, DG JLS, Brussels, January 2007.
 The decision has been amended several times since.
 Interview, European Commission, DG JLS, Brussels, January 2007.