Statement by the Frontex Management Board

3 March 2020

The Frontex Management Board, which is holding an extraordinary meeting today in Frontex headquarters in Warsaw, has agreed that the Agency:

1. Fully supports Greece in addressing the current situation at its external borders towards Turkey and to act in the spirit of European solidarity;

2. Deploys the rapid border intervention requested by Greece and decided by the Executive Director. Member States confirm their readiness to provide their respective mandatory contributions under the Rapid Reaction Pool and technical assets under the Rapid Reaction Equipment Pool complemented by additional pledges from the Technical Equipment Pool;

3. Stands ready to further extend its support for Greece to other operational areas and/or type of assistance within Frontex mandate and

4. Asks the Agency and Greece and Bulgaria to continuously assess the needs in a sustainable way.

The Frontex Management Board is composed of representatives of the heads of the border authorities of EU Member States that are signatories of the Schengen acquis, plus two members of the European Commission.

Frontex to launch rapid border intervention at Greece's external borders

2 March 2020

The Executive Director of Frontex has agreed today to launch a rapid border intervention to assist Greece in dealing with the large numbers of migrants at its external borders. The Greek government officially asked Frontex last night to launch a rapid border intervention at its sea borders in the Aegean.

Rapid border interventions are designed to bring immediate assistance to an EU Member State that is under urgent and exceptional pressure at its external border, especially related to large numbers of non-EU nationals trying to enter its territory illegally.

"Given the quickly developing situation at the Greek external borders with Turkey, my decision is to accept to launch the rapid border intervention requested by Greece. It is part of the Frontex mandate to assist a Member State confronted with an exceptional situation, requesting urgent support with officers and equipment from all EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries," said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.

"Starting next year we will be able to rely on the first 700 officers from the European Border and Coast Guard standing corps to provide operational flexibility in case of a rapid border intervention. Today, we depend entirely on EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries for contributions to come through at this crucial time," he added.

Frontex has already increased surveillance capacity at the Greek borders and is redeploying officers from other operations to provide immediate assistance.

Frontex is now working closely with Greece to quickly finalise the operational plan for the rapid border intervention.

As soon as the plan is agreed, Frontex will ask other EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries to immediately provide border guards and other relevant staff from the rapid reaction pool, indicating the relevant profiles and numbers of officers from each.

The interventions rely on the rapid reaction pools of 1500 officers and equipment from EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries, which are required to provide officers and staff within five days and equipment within 10 days. "Our core mission is to protect the common borders of the European Union in support of Member States. In Greece, we contribute to this goal by supporting the registration of migrants and security screenings, which are also important for returns," said Fabrice Leggeri.

Image by Frontex

Frontex press release