Monitoring and risk analysis

EU-wide picture

Frontex knows what’s going on at Europe’s borders: where the threats are, how to react, and where they’re likely to emerge next. Our 24/7 monitoring of the situation on the border and beyond, combined with comprehensive risk analysis, gives us a Europe-wide view of border control and migration management. Frontex helps spot potential weak points and strengthen Europe’s resilience.

We do this by using our own surveillance assets and by receiving, integrating, analysing and disseminating intelligence from a wealth of sources, including national border guard authorities. We use this Europe-wide picture to coordinate the response to a variety of threats, including smuggling, trafficking in human beings and terrorism.

To take just one example: our Maritime Aerial Surveillance (MAS) has become an integral part of our operations, and a permanent service offered to national authorities. MAS uses surveillance airplanes and drones that stream video and other data from EU and Schengen external borders directly to our headquarters in Warsaw and to national and European authorities, allowing for real-time monitoring.

At the European Monitoring Room in Warsaw, experts from a variety of countries work together to monitor the incoming information. Frontex planes routinely detect boats in distress at sea, providing quick reaction and coordination that allows national authorities to launch rescue missions.

We also work to assess risks at the borders and then to reduce vulnerability to challenges and support national authorities in their response. Risk analysis guides all Frontex activities, helping us decide where our human and technical resources should be deployed. Frontex also supports the Member States by providing remote command and control capacity and crisis management support


Eurosur is the information-exchange framework designed to improve the management of Europe’s external borders. It aims to support Member States by increasing their situational awareness and reaction capability in combating cross-border crime, tackling irregular migration and preventing loss of migrant lives at sea.

The backbone of Eurosur is a network of National Coordination Centres (NCCs). Each member state establishes an NCC, which groups the authorities responsible for border control in a given member state. The main role of the NCC is to coordinate the border surveillance activities on national level and serve as a hub for the exchange of information.

The NCCs collect local and national information about what takes place at the border, including illegal border crossings and criminal activity. The data processed by the NCC personnel creates a national situational picture. The NCCs are also responsible for sharing the relevant information with other member states and Frontex. Based on this input and information from other sources, Frontex creates the European situational picture and the common pre-frontier intelligence picture (focused on areas beyond the Schengen Area and EU borders).

The two pictures created by Frontex contain information on the events that recently took place at the borders, operational activities and analysis. These are created and maintained by Frontex and shared with Member States through the NCC network. None of the information currently exchanged within Eurosur contains personal data.

In addition to maintaining and sharing the situational pictures, Frontex also provides information collected from satellites and other surveillance tools at the European level. Member states can use such information to further improve their situational awareness. The collection of these services, called Eurosur Fusion Services, facilitates access to state of the art technologies, help reduce the duplication of efforts by member states and reduces costs.

The Eurosur Fusion Services include automated vessel tracking and detection capabilities, software functionalities allowing complex calculations for detecting anomalies and predicting vessel positions, as well as precise weather and oceanographic forecasts. Fusion Services use optical and radar satellite technology to locate vessels suspected to be engaged in people smuggling that often puts the lives of migrants in danger. Many of the services are delivered in cooperation with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the EU Satellite Centre (SatCen).

Besides close-to-real-time services, Frontex also makes available a wide range of analytical products tailored for operational use within Eurosur.

Eurosur goes beyond situational awareness by indicating the adequate level of operational reaction at different border sections. For this purpose, Member States have divided their external land and sea borders into sections. Each of this border sections is attributed an impact level — low, medium or high — which refer to the security of a given border section assessed against identified risk levels for illegal border crossing or cross-border crime. Measures to be taken to reduce the risks remain the responsibility of individual Member States, although in the case of “high impact level” border areas they may request operational assistance from Frontex in the form of prioritised spatial services, a joint operation or rapid intervention.

The Eurosur Regulation contains a range of fundamental rights safeguards, including the principles of data protection and non-refoulement, or the practice of not forcing migrants to return to a state where they may be subject to persecution.