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Area of Justice, Freedom and Security
FRONTEX – Joint European Operations
The Regulation establishing the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) sets out that it aims at an integrated and efficient management of the EU external borders (land, sea and air), by coordinating joint actions and the provision of the necessary technical assistance and expertise. The Agency, headquartered in Warsaw, has been in operation since 1.10.2005.
Greece supports strengthening FRONTEX with resources and operational means in order to successfully carry out the role assigned to it on a European level, particularly as far as borders with increased illegal migrant flows are concerned. Within the framework, and based on the latest European Council conclusions, we are in favour of:
- all the member states’ contributing to joint FRONTEX operations – to be carried out on a permanent basis – by pooling their resources, in order for a more efficient control of European sea and land borders.
Operation “Poseidon” the biggest ever to be coordinated by FRONTEX is being carried out at Greece’s sea borders with Turkey and Greece’s land borders with Albania, Turkey and Bulgaria. 26 EU and Schengen area member states are taking part in it with land, sea and air forces, technical equipment and officials.
- More frequent joint return flights of illegal immigrants to their home countries, with FRONTEX funding and a strengthened role for the Agency in terms of these flights organization.
The Management Board of the Agency decided in its February 2010 session in Madrid, following substantial and coordinated efforts on our parts, to set up a pilot operational branch in Piraeus. The FRONTEX Operational Office (FOO) entered into operation on 1 October 2010.
Due to the unprecedented intensity of illegal migration pressures on Greek-Turkish land borders, Greece requested increased Frontex involvement, which resulted in operation RABIT 2010, carried out in the Evros region from 2 November 2010 through 2 March 2011. This was the first instance of an EU member state requesting RABIT deployments on its external borders to confront emergency conditions. As of 3 March 2011, when RABIT 2010 was completed, the upgraded Hermes 2011 ground operation has been under way and will last through 4 January 2012. Also to be carried out, from 1 April 2011 to 31 December 2011, is the Hermes 2011 sea operation, which is aimed and ensuring an increase in Frontex’s operational effectiveness.