Who we are

Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, supports EU Member States and Schengen-associated countries in the management of the EU’s external borders and the fight against cross-border crime. 

Frontex is a centre of excellence for border control activities at the EU’s external borders, sharing intelligence and expertise with all Member States and with neighbouring non-EU countries affected by migratory trends and cross-border crime. 

With the standing corps, the European Union’s first uniformed law enforcement service, Frontex has transformed into an operational arm of the EU. 

Hundreds of officers are taking part in operations at the external borders of the European Union and beyond. They perform a variety of tasks such as border surveillance, fighting cross-border crime, and assisting in return operations. The officers stand together with national authorities to safeguard the Schengen Area, one of Europe’s greatest achievements.


The ideas that led to the creation of Frontex have a deep history in the European project. Fostering the free movement of people has been an important objective of European integration. In 1957, free movement of goods, persons, services and capital were identified as foundations of the Community in the Treaty of Rome.


During the 1980s, five Member States (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) decided to create a common area of free movement – a territory without internal borders. In 1985, they signed the first agreement in a small town in Luxembourg called Schengen – an agreement that was followed in 1990 by a Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement.

When the “Schengen area” – a territory in which the free movement of persons - entered into force in 1995, checks at the internal borders were abolished and a single external border was created. Slowly, border control, as well as the rules governing visas and the right to asylum, became common for all Schengen countries.

In order to keep a balance between freedom and security, participating Member States agreed to introduce additional measures focusing on cooperation and coordination of the work of the police and judicial authorities. Because organised crime networks do not respect borders, this cooperation became key to safeguarding internal security.

In 1999, with the signing of the Treaty of Amsterdam, this intergovernmental cooperation was incorporated into the EU framework.

Towards Frontex

Since 1999 the European Council on Justice and Home Affairs has taken several steps towards further strengthening cooperation in the area of migration, asylum and security.

In the border management field, this led to the creation of the External Border Practitioners Common Unit - a group composed of members of the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA) and heads of national border control services.

The Common Unit coordinated national projects of Ad-Hoc Centres on Border Control. Their task was to oversee EU-wide pilot projects and to implement common operations related to border management.

Frontex is born

Two years after the establishment of "ad-hoc" centres the European Council decided to go a step further. With the objective of improving procedures and working methods of the Common Unit, Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004 led to the establishment of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex).

This Regulation was repealed by Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 of 14 September 2016, establishing Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

The latest amendment of the Frontex mandate occurred when the Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard (OJ L 295, 14.11.2019, p. 1) came into force.

Our Mission

Together with the Member States, we ensure safe and well-functioning external borders providing security.

We are professional
We have the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to fulfil our mission efficiently with high ethical standards and we continuously strive for excellence to improve our performance.

We are respectful
We recognise people, institutions and their roles and demonstrate respect by treating these as valuable and important.

We seek cooperation
Together with EU MSs relevant national authorities, with participation of other stakeholders we manage the EU external borders and seek cooperation with non-EU countries.

Together, we cooperate and collaborate across the organisation as well as with external stakeholders in order to accomplish common goals and objectives.

We are accountable

We are trustworthy in fulfilling our responsibilities in our work, its timeliness and quality.

We care
As European public agents we serve the interests of citizens because we care about people and believe in European values.