The European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex beyond Borders - the Effect of the Agency's External Dimension
TARN Working Paper Series 16/2017, December 2017
23 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2017 Last revised: 20 Jan 2018
Date Written: December 10, 2017
The recently reformed European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex has since its establishment increasingly cooperated with third countries. It does so through existing working arrangements and joint analytical activity, in order to foster information exchange, carry out risk analyses, and prevent further migration crises. What effect does Frontex’s external dimension in terms of cooperation with non-EU countries have on the EU decision-making process?
The paper first traces the empowerment of Frontex over the years, as its tasks and resources have constantly increased. Secondly, in order to investigate different kinds of cooperation, it describes Frontex’s ‘external’ work with non-EU countries. Drawing on the tradition of historical institutionalism, three explanatory factors are presented for demonstrating the agency’s effect on decision-making: external crises leading to growing security concerns; a consequent increased delegation of authority to Frontex (agency empowerment); and growing regional cooperation. By looking at the Western Balkans case and at the relation between the agency and the European Commission, this study argues that Frontex’s work beyond borders affects the decision-making and consequently the policy-making of the EU. The expanded remit, increasing financial as well as staff capabilities of the agency, and reoccurring crises show that Frontex is no longer an implementing, executive instrument as the existing literature claims, but has evolved to be an influential actor in its own right.
Keywords: European Union, empowerment, Frontex, security, Western Balkans
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