Frontex Assumes Leadership on Deportations from EU


The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, has just recently decided to take on a more leading role in deportations and has been testing the possibility of organising some tasks that were previously reserved by the national authorities of each country.

Frontex has already begun a pilot phase of organised return operations that aims to decrease the burden on Member States dealing with a large number of irregular migrants who need to be sent back to their home countries.

The pilot phase involved three deportation flights in 2022 as well as in 2023, and through these flights, a total of 143 people were deported to Albania, Nigeria, and Bangladesh, reports.

Statewatch explains that a presentation given by Frontex in April indicates that there will be at least four Frontex-organised return operations in 2023. Moreover, the presentations stressed that deportations would be made to new destinations too.

As part of its actions, Frontex’s tasks include the following:

  • Initiative, destination, and date
  • Chartering aircraft, flight plan
  • Communications with third countries via EEAS and local Frontex liaisons
  • Sending passenger list

As Statewatch explains, one of the main changes is that Frontex will now rather act as an organiser rather than a facilitator.

Nonetheless, the presentation of Frontex stresses that the Member States will still remain responsible for “use of force”, but it is not clear how this will work.

“The presentation also highlights the support offered by Frontex for deportations via scheduled flights, the agency’s growing role in “reintegration” programmes, and the “Reference model for Return Case Management System,” a technical specification that aims to establish a uniform digital deportation management architecture across the EU,” Statewatch wrote.

Frontex consistently supports the Member States in the EU and the Schengen Area countries in the management of the external border and the fight against cross-border crime.

Just recently, Frontex revealed the main irregular migration routes and countries of origin. According to Frontex, there are six main migratory routes that migrants use to reach the bloc irregularly, with the Central Mediterranean route registering the most movement.

Data provided by Frontex show that a total of 27,651 irregular border crossings were recorded at the Central Mediterranean route between January and March of this year, marking the highest number among all the other routes.

The main countries of origin for arrivals on the Central Mediterranean are Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Moreover, Frontex revealed that the number of irregular border crossings fell on the Western Balkan route. In the first three months of this year, a total of 14,858 irregular border crossings were recorded on the Western Balkan route, with the main nationalities being Syrians, Afghans, and Turks.

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