Frontex - European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders

05/28/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/28/2024 01:19

Frontex and the new Pact on Migration and Asylum

Frontex and the new Pact on Migration and Asylum

2024-05-28

The Pact on Migration and Asylum is a set of new rules managing migration and establishing a common asylum system at EU level. Frontex will play a multidimensional role in its implementation. Approved by a vote of the European Parliament on 10 April 2024 and formally adopted by the Council of the EU on 14 May 2024, the Pact will ensure that the Union has strong and secure external borders, that people's rights are guaranteed, and that no EU country is left alone when under pressure. It will also allow for a better support to frontline Member States in case of migratory influx, cross-border crime, or destabilisation attempts by those non-EU countries that attempt to instrumentalise migration.

The four pillars of the Pact

The new Pact amends and builds on the previous reform proposals in the area of migration and tries to strike a balance between firmness and fairness. Considering the specific needs expressed by the Member States, solidarity was put at the core of the Pact. It offers a comprehensive approach on migration, asylum, border management and integration, but it also provides EU countries with the required flexibility to address the pressing challenges they face and the necessary safeguards to protect people in need. Concretely, the Pact is based on four pillars.

1. Secure external borders

This will be achieved through a robust pre-entry screening procedure at the external borders. The Eurodac database will be reinforced and will allow to clearly identify everyone entering the EU territory, as an asylum seeker or as an irregular migrant. A mandatory border procedure will apply for asylum applicants who are unlikely to need protection, mislead the authorities or present a security risk, and more efficient return procedures coupled with reintegration support, will be available for those not eligible for international protection. Quick crisis protocols, with operational support and funding for Member States in emergency situations will also be implemented.

2. Faster and more efficient procedures

This pillar brings in new EU standards via the Asylum Migration Management Regulation which provides for clear guidelines on how to determine which EU country has the responsibility to deal with an application for international protection, the new Reception Conditions Directive which sets a common understanding of the living conditions and guarantees that should be granted to people in need of international protection, as well as the Qualification Regulation and the Asylum Procedure Regulation, which harmonise the criteria for international protection, clarify the rights and obligations of beneficiaries and set out clear obligations of cooperation for asylum seekers, providing for consequences in case of non-compliance.

3. Solidarityandresponsibility

The new framework should enable EU Member States to better manage their migration policy by choosing the way they participate, whether it is by accepting asylum seekers on their territory or by relocating them in exchange of a financial contribution. The relevant EU agencies, including Frontex, will support Member States through operational and technical means in line with their mandates. The new rules also aim at preventing secondary movements, clearly stating that asylum seekers must apply for international protection in the EU country of first entry and remain there until the country responsible for their application is determined.

4. International partnerships

This pillar is particularly important in view of preventing unauthorised departures towards the EU (and therefore the need to strengthen the capacities of border management authorities in priority partner third countries, including through reinforced cooperation with Frontex). Particular attention is given to having tailor-made anti-smuggling operational partnerships with partner countries and UN agencies, as well as strengthening cooperation on return and readmission while developing legal migration avenues. As many European regions face a lack of workforce, an EU Talent Pool is established in the framework of the Pact, with the aim of facilitating international recruitment, while the Talent Partnerships will allow non-EU citizens to work, study and train in the European Union.

What is the role of Frontex in the framework of the Pact?

Frontex's role in the implementation of the New Pact is multidimensional. All four pillars require attention from the Agency, however the main areas of action are the following Commission-identified Building Blocks:

  • Building Block 2 covering a new system for the border, which aims to ensure the screening and the border procedures for asylum and return work together in a seamless process with all guarantees;
  • Building Block 5 covering efficient and fair returns, which aims to expedite return procedures and create a close link between the asylum and the return process.

In practice, Frontex's presence will grow through the deployment of trained border guards to support Member States in the new screening procedure, which includes a preliminary vulnerability check, a verification of identity, the collection and transmission of biometric data, a security check and the filling of a screening form.

The Agency will also play a crucial role in terms of training of the border and coast guard community, spreading the best practices on how to manage external borders in the respect of fundamental rights. Frontex and the European Union Agency for Asylum are requested to work hand in hand to make the implementation of the new screening procedure a success.

In terms of return and reintegration activities, Frontex will play a key role in ensuring an efficient EU return policy, in view of achieving expedited return procedures and creating a close link between the asylum and the return process. On this topic, Frontex will cooperate closely with Member States to facilitate returns, as well as their reintegration in the country of origin. Frontex support in all return phases is expected, including in identification and return counselling, as well as through the EU Reintegration Programme.

Last but not least, in the framework of the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation and the Regulation addressing situations of crisis and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum, the Agency will also have to provide extensive information to the European Commission in its process to adopt the European Annual Asylum and Migration Report, as well as information to properly assess whether a Member State is facing a situation of a crisis.

On the way to full implementation

The new Migration and Asylum legal framework will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and the Member States will have two years from the date of entry into force to put the laws that were adopted into practice. The European Commission will present a Common Implementation Plan by June 2024. National Implementation Plans by the Member States will follow six months after. Therefore, the implementation of the Pact relies on a gradual strategy, which will reach its end with the entry into application of the new Migration and Asylum legal framework by mid-2026.

Read more: Pact on Migration and Asylum - European Commission