Glen Ruffle: The failings of Frontex

With migration such a hot political topic at the moment, the work of FRONTEX, the European Agency for managing operational cooperation at the EU member states’ external borders, should be assessed. It has been operating now for a decade, and in 2015 projects total revenue of EUR 142,606,000.

Frontex’s website states: “Its main task is to augment and to add value to, border control activities of the Member States”. So that clears things up…

Frontex’s main budget is supplied in the form of a colossal Commission subsidy of EUR 106,100,000. The Schengen area states add another EUR 7 million, and the UK and Ireland top that up with an extra EUR 820,000. In 2015, the budget has already been adjusted upwards by EUR 26 million, taking into consideration the unprecedented migration flows.
EUR 90 million of these funds has been allocated to Joint Operations. These include the creation of ‘European Border Guard Teams’ to be deployed in difficult situations, and the creation of European Patrol Networks to coordinate national maritime agencies.

Risk analysis and the EUROSUR programme (a system of border surveillance and information exchange) is funded by nearly EUR 12 million. For Frontex, risk analysis refers to collating national information and forecasting future risks. The agency spends EUR 4 million on renting buildings and overheads, along with EUR 3.8 million on telecoms and data processing. Recently, the accounts show that it has reduced spending on transparency.

The total budget for staff expenditure is EUR 22 million, including EUR 20 million for staff in active employment, and EUR 100,000 for recruitment. Frontex employs under 300 people, (many on secondments), which would provide an average salary of over EUR 67,000 per person, per year. The EU average salary – for rich states such as Luxembourg – is around EUR 38,000 per person, per year…

So, apart from good salaries that are apparently EUR 29,000 above the Western European average, how is the money being spent?

Frontex’s accounts list administrative expenses of EUR 60,000 on postage. This is in a day and age of high-security internet connections…

The nearly EUR 12 million spent on risk analysis, based on past performance, also appears wasted. The Frontex Risk Analysis Network (FRAN) Quarterly Issue 3 from July-September 2010 cited Serbs and Afghans as the main migrant sources, while the Annual Risk Analysis from 2011 highlighted Serbs and Ukrainians. Syria’s coming destabilization was completely unforeseen. Simply gathering statistics from national agencies and then trying to make forecasts is the type of thing voluntary sector organizations try and do, but here we have taxpayers’ money being spent on getting an EU agency to do this work...

Not content with bad forecasts, Frontex has also recently launched a European Master’s programme: Europe’s only specialised degree in border management. This degree is aimed at promoting “interoperability and the highest standards at EU borders”; in other words, promoting the idea of Europe as one entity with one common set of rules. And this just as major EU states are reintroducing internal borders…

To try and boost its own survival, Frontex organises an event called the European Day For Border Guards, which takes place in the second half of May each year. This day consists of a few seminars and some dog shows.

If Frontex’s work is really effective, would we now be witnessing the collapse of the Schengen area and unprecedented immigration? Is this the result EUR 500,000,000 of funding for Frontex over the last five years has bought Europe? Taxpayers should be asking for their money back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>