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The EU has established agencies in the area of Home Affairs to support EU States and their citizens in coping with new tasks of specific nature. Each agency is unique and fulfils an individual function. Together, FRONTEX, Europol, CEPOL, EMCDDA, EASO and eu-LISA provide information and advice, prepare and take decisions, oversee operations and support policymaking.

In addition to the decentralised agencies mentioned above, the Directorate-General for Migration and Home affairs is also one of the parent DGs of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

Decentralised Agencies:

FRONTEX: EU external borders agency


The European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union pdf - 794 KB [794 KB] (FRONTEX) facilitates and improves the application of existing and future EU measures relating to the management of external borders. It complements EU States' border management systems and contributes to the freedom and security of EU citizens.

FRONTEX coordinates EU States' actions in the implementation of EU border management measures. Thus, it contributes to the efficient, reinforced and uniform control of persons and surveillance of EU States' external borders. FRONTEX assists EU States in training national border guards, including in establishing common training standards. It also carries out risk analyses, follows up developments in research related to the control and surveillance of external borders, assists EU States in circumstances requiring increased technical and operational assistance at external borders and provides EU States with the necessary support in organising joint return operations.

FRONTEX was established in 2004. It is located in Warsaw (Poland).

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Europol: the European Police Office


Europol assists EU States' police forces in improving their cooperation on the prevention and fight against the most serious forms of international crime, such as terrorism, drug trafficking and people smuggling, focusing on the targeting of criminal organisations. The assistance offered by Europol to national law enforcement services consists of facilitating exchanges of information, providing criminal analyses, as well as helping and coordinating cross border operations. Unlike national police forces, Europol does not have any autonomous investigative or coercive powers.

Originally established on the basis of a Convention signed by EU States in 1995, Europol has been in operation since 1999. On 1 January 2010, it was conferred the status of EU agency. Europol is located in The Hague (The Netherlands).

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CEPOL: the European Police College


CEPOL supports and promotes joint approaches to the major cross-border problems encountered by EU States in the fight against crime, crime prevention and the maintenance of law, order and public security. It started as a network of existing national institutes for the training of senior law enforcement officials on the practical aspects of EU law enforcement cooperation. Its work programme focuses on the organisation of courses, seminars and conferences that cover a wide-range of topics.

CEPOL also runs an exchange programme for police authorities pdf - 141 KB [141 KB] to gain a better understanding of EU States' legal systems, share working methods and network.

Set up in 2000 by Council Decision 2000/820/JHA , the European Police College (CEPOL) became an EU agency in 2005 (Council Decision 2005/681/JHA ). It is based in the Hungarian capital Budapest.

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EMCDDA: the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction


Independent, science-based information is vital for helping Europe understand the nature of its drug problem and to better respond to this problem. The role of EMCDDA is to provide the EU and its States with a factual overview of the European drug situation and a solid evidence base to support the drugs debate. EMCDDA supplies data for policymakers to draw up informed drug laws and strategies. It also assists professionals and practitioners working in the field to pinpoint best practice and new areas of research.

To achieve its core task of providing sound and comparable information on drugs in Europe, EMCDDA has developed the infrastructure and tools for national drug monitoring centers to collect country data in a harmonised way. The subsequent analysis of these data by EMCDDA results in a variety of information products that convey the broader European picture.

EMCDDA was established in 1993 and inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995.

Video source: EMCDDA

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EASO: the European Asylum Support Office



EASO's objectives are threefold: 

  • to develop practical cooperation among EU States on asylum by facilitating exchanges of information on countries of origin, providing EU States with support for translation and interpretation and for training of asylum officials and assisting in the relocation of beneficiaries of international protection
  • to support EU States under particular pressure, in particular through the establishment of an early warning system, the coordination of teams of experts to assist in managing asylum applications and the putting in place of appropriate reception facilities
  • to contribute to the implementation of the Common European Asylum System by collecting and exchanging information on best practices, drawing up an annual report on the asylum situation in the EU and defining technical orientations on the implementation of the Union's asylum instruments.

Through its support function, EASO assists EU States in fulfilling their European and international obligations in the field of asylum.

EASO was established by Regulation (EU) 439/2010 as an independent and specialised body. It became fully operational in mid-2011. Its headquarters are located in Valletta (Malta).

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EU Agency for large-scale IT systems (eu-LISA)

eu-LISA, the EU Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems, successfully started operations on December 1, 2012. It fulfills the operational management tasks for SIS II, VIS and EURODAC. The main operational task is to ensure that these systems are kept functioning 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its other responsibilities include adopting the necessary security measures and ensuring data security and integrity as well as compliance with data protection rules.

The headquarters is in Tallinn (Estonia), while the operational management is carried out in Strasbourg (France).

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Executive Agency:

Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA)

The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) is responsible for the management of certain parts of the EU's funding programmes in the fields of education, culture, audiovisual, sport, citizenship and volunteering. The programmes it implements are: Erasmus +, Creative Europe, EU Aid Volunteers, and Europe for Citizens. The Agency is in charge of the coordination of multiple aspects of the programmes, including drawing up conditions and guidelines for funding opportunities, evaluating applications, selecting projects and signing project agreements, financial management, contacts with beneficiaries, monitoring of projects (intermediate and final reports, and controls) and on-site project visits. The Agency also provides information and support to applicants and beneficiaries.

The Executive Agency was established in 2006 and is located in Brussels. It operates under the supervision of its four parent Directorates-General of the European Commission, namely DG Education and Culture, DG Humanitarian Aid & Civil protection, DG Communication Networks, Content and Technology and DG Migration and Home Affairs.

DG Migration and Home Affairs is responsible for the Europe for Citizens' Programme.

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Additional tools


Visa Information System (VIS)

A system for the exchange of visa data between Schengen States, which enables authorised national authorities to ...


Smuggling of migrants

The procurement, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit, of the illegal entry ...


Second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II)

SIS II – a more advanced version of the Schengen Information System (SIS) – was launched in April 2013 ...



In a general sense, the act or process of going back to the point of departure. This could be within the territorial ...



The transfer of persons having a status defined by the Geneva Convention or subsidiary protection within the ...



Comprises three main tasks: - supervision and responsibility for increasing the performance of others...


International protection

The actions by the international community on the basis of international law, aimed at protecting the fundamental ...


External EU border

An EU States’ land borders, including river and lake borders, sea borders and their airports, river ports, sea ports ...


European Asylum Support Office (EASO)

An Agency established to help improve the implementation of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), to ...



An informatics (IT) system, the purpose of which, via the collection, transmission and comparison of fingerprints ...


Country of origin

The country that is a source of migratory flows (regular or irregular).


Common European Asylum System (CEAS)

The establishment of a common asylum procedure and a uniform status for those who are granted asylum or ...


Border surveillance

The surveillance of borders between border crossing points and the surveillance of border crossing points outside ...


Border control

The activity carried out at a border, in accordance with and for the purposes of Regulation 562/2006, exclusively in ...



A line separating land territory or maritime zones of two States or subparts of States. It can also refer to a region ...