Europe Day is an Open Day!


Frontex marked its presence at the Open Day in Brussels last Saturday, 4 May, by providing visitors with a wealth of knowledge about EU’s border management and safe travelling. Together with the European Commission and its Directorates-General, our agency’s representatives – EU border guards and experts – ran thematic stands in the iconic seat of the European Commission, the Berlaymont building.  

Open Day in Brussels is a symbolic way to celebrate Europe Day. The doors of the main EU institutions open to the public not only to show their interiors but primarily to offer access to knowledge and information about the current European priorities and policies. Frontex was invited to represent the Justice and Home Affairs Directorate-General by showing what the EU does for the safety of its external borders. 

This year’s edition conveyed several important messages – that of the solidarity between EU countries and the importance of the upcoming European elections. It also marked quite a few anniversaries and achievements, such as 20 years of the 2004 enlargement, 25 years of the euro introduction, and 30 years of the single market launch. This year, thousands of visitors from around the world joined a vibrant array of events and activities. 

The Frontex experience

Last Saturday, the European Commission headquarters turned into a miniature version of the EU administration. The entire ground floor was divided into six thematic villages covering over 60 policy areas managed by the European institutions. Frontex was part of the “Stronger and bolder Europe in the world” village and shared all its knowledge about the management of the EU’s external borders. 

In fact, Frontex is the EU’s only uniformed service, but it was not only the uniforms of the EU border guards that attracted a lot of visitors. The officers wearing the EU insignia and Frontex communications’ colleagues unveiled the arcana of border patrolling and border checks, and answered plenty of questions about career opportunities at Frontex. 

This year, Frontex’s main activities focused on identity and travel documents. Frontex document experts answered hundreds of questions about some basic security features by showing samples and allowing the members of the public to manipulate document readers. Other activities included interactive games, such as detecting a false document with the use of Quick Check Cards or detecting an impostor by comparing the photos in the travel document with the pictures of the document holder. 

The main message to retain from the experts: ID and travel documents are sensitive and must be treated accordingly. If lost or stolen, this should be declared immediately to the authorities that will report it in various police databases. 

While the document experts were training the sharp eye of the curious public on one side of the Frontex stand, at the other end our communication and logistics colleagues were helping the visitors to manoeuvre the border equipment used by the guards, such as thermal cameras, a portable heartbeat detector or a portable power station. The borescope in particular aroused interest – it is a small device that helps border guards look into the narrowest cavities of the vehicles, where smugglers may try to hide illicit items. 

The Open Day ended, but Frontex continues to celebrate Europe Day by supporting Member States in their continuous task of protecting the EU’s external borders! 

More information is available on the European Commission’s website: Open Day 2024