Frontex is accountable, or in simpler words, must report to the
European Parliament which represents EU citizens and to the Council which
represents Member States’ governments. This obligation stems directly from
Article 6 of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Regulation.
Frontex is also accountable to national border guard authorities whose
representatives are members of the agency’s Management Board.
There are several ways in which Frontex demonstrates its accountability
to these institutions.
Frontex has also an obligation to inform the European Parliament and the Council of working arrangements concluded with EU institutions, bodies, offices, agencies, and international organisations. We are also obliged to keep the Parliament and the Council abreast of all working arrangements with non-EU countries.
The reason why we share these documents and information is to assist the European Parliament and the Council in their oversight and scrutiny capacity.
Moreover, an expert from the LIBE Committee attends, on invitation by the Chair, Frontex Management Board meetings.
MEPs, political groups, and parliamentary committees may also address Frontex with written questions, through the European Commission.
MEPs are also regular visitors to the agency’s headquarters and field operations to see up close the practical aspects of border management.
Every year, the European Parliament controls how the EU's annual budget has been used. The Parliament does it through a so-called discharge procedure. The Parliament scrutinises whether EU bodies and agencies, including Frontex, implemented their budget in accordance with relevant rules and the principles of sound financial management.
The Agency provides all necessary information to the European Parliament (e.g., annual activity report, final accounts, reply to questionnaires from the CONT Committee) to assist it in the discharge process and reports on the follow-up to the observations contained in the resolutions accompanying discharge decisions.
Frontex’s annual accounts are subject to an external audit carried out by the European Court of Auditors (ECA). The ECA draws up an annual report which, together with the replies from the bodies concerned, including Frontex, is published and constitutes the basis for the European Parliament to take the aforementioned discharge decision.
The oversight of Frontex is also within the remit of the Internal Audit Service (IAS), the internal auditor of the European Commission, as well as Frontex’s Internal Audit Capacity.
One of the pillars of effective accountability is Frontex’s Management Board. It oversees our agency’s functions and activities. Among other responsibilities, the Board appoints the executive and deputy executive directors, establishes the budget and verifies its execution, and ensures that transparent decision-making procedures are in place.
You may read more about the Board and its current members here.
Public access to documents
The public register of documents is an online library of Frontex, which contains public documents produced by the agency since its foundation in 2004. The aim of the register is to keep internal and external stakeholders as well as general public informed about Frontex’s activities and tasks.
Apart from that, any EU citizen, natural or legal person residing or having a registered office in the EU, has the right to access documents held by Frontex upon submitting a formal request. The exact procedure and legal basis for such requests can be found on the public access to documents applications website.
All European Union’s institutions, bodies and agencies have the obligation to run an open, efficient, and independent European administration. It means, among other things, that they must have internal rules on preventing conflicts of interest and on establishing and managing a transparency register.
Frontex’s transparency register was set up to ensure agency’s full transparency and integrity on lobbying. It lists all meetings and contacts held by the executive director, deputy executive directors and heads of divisions which concern procurement procedures and tenders for services, equipment or outsourced projects and studies.
It is important to notice that the register does not mention the names of the individuals acting on behalf of the third-party stakeholder or attending the meetings, only their functions. This approach, based on the data controller’s recommendation, was adopted to strike the balance between the principle of transparency and the right to privacy.
If you would like to know more about how Frontex processes personal data for the purposes of the transparency register, you may learn more on our transparency register website.