On 7 June 2021, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) published its Special Report entitled ‘Frontex’s support to external border management: not sufficiently effective.’  The performance audit focuses on four of Frontex’s primary activities: situation monitoring, risk analysis, vulnerability assessment and operational response.

It makes the finding that Frontex has not been sufficiently effective in helping Member States and Schengen associated countries in managing the EU’s external frontiers.

In relation to Frontex’s mandate to combat illegal immigration and cross-border crime, the auditors found gaps and inconsistencies in the information exchange framework, which hinders the capacity of Frontex and the Member States to monitor external borders and to respond when necessary. Moreover, it was found that risk analysis and vulnerability assessment activities are not always supported by complete and good-quality data. Finally, the ECA concluded that the joint operations in the framework of cross-border crime are not yet sufficiently developed in Frontex’s day-to-day activities.

The auditors also point out an absence of reporting on Frontex’s efficiency and costs. Although it communicates extensively about its activities, Frontex rarely analyses its performance or the impact of its activities. Nor does it provide information about the real cost of its joint operations. The auditors concluded that there is a significant risk that Frontex will struggle to carry out the mandate assigned to it by the Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 and addressed a several recommendations to the Agency and the European Commission in this regard.

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This article first appeared in the ELENA Weekly Legal Update (EWLU)

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