Migration and Home Affairs


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 mission of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) is to facilitate and render more effective the application of existing and future Union measures relating to the management of the external borders, in particular the Schengen Borders Code established by Regulation (EU) 2016/399 in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the concept of a European integrated border management. It complements EU Member States' border management systems and contributes to the freedom and security of EU citizens.

FRONTEX shall implement European integrated border management as a shared responsibility of the Agency and of the national authorities responsible for border management. Thus, it contributes to the efficient, reinforced and uniform control of persons and surveillance of Member States' external borders. FRONTEX monitors migration flows, carries out risk analyses and vulnerability assessment including the assessment of the capacity and readiness of Member States to face threats and challenges at the external borders.  It assists Member States in training national border guards, including in establishing common training standards. It also participates in the developments of research  and innovation related to the control of external borders. It assists Member States in circumstances requiring increased technical and operational assistance at external borders which may imply  support  -in cooperation with Europol and Eurojust – in detection and prevention of organised cross-border crime and terrorism. FRONTEX supports search and rescue operations at sea, plays an enhanced role in returns of third-country nationals who do not have the right to stay on the EU territory and supports – together with other EU agencies – national authorities of the Member States carrying out coast guard functions.

FRONTEX was established in 2004 by Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2004. This Regulation was repealed by Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 establishing the European Border and Coast Guard  which includes Frontex and the national authorities of Member States which are responsible for border management, including coast guards to the extent that they carry out border control tasks,. The Agency 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 Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training


CEPOL is an agency of the European Union dedicated to develop, implement and coordinate training for law enforcement officials.

Since 1 July 2016, the date of its new legal mandate, CEPOL’s official name is “The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training”. CEPOL’s headquarters are located in Budapest, Hungary.

CEPOL contributes to a safer Europe by facilitating cooperation and knowledge sharing among law enforcement officials of the EU Member States and to some extent, from third countries, on issues stemming from EU priorities in the field of security; in particular, from the EU Policy Cycle on serious and organised crime.

CEPOL brings together a network of training institutes for law enforcement officials in EU Member States and supports them in providing frontline training on security priorities, law enforcement cooperation and information exchange. CEPOL also works with EU bodies, international organisations, and third countries to ensure that the most serious security threats are tackled with a collective response.

The agency’s annual work programme is built with input from this network and other stakeholders, resulting in topical and focused activities designed to meet the needs of Member States in the priority areas of the EU internal security strategy. Moreover, CEPOL assesses training needs to address EU security priorities.

CEPOL’s current portfolio encompasses residential activities, online learning (i.e. webinars, online modules, online courses, etc.), exchange programmes, common curricula, research and science.

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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 was set up in 2011 to enhance practical cooperation among Member States on asylum-related matters and for assisting Member States in implementing their obligations under the Common European Asylum System.

It was established by Regulation (EU) 439/2010 as a Support Office independent in technical matters and enjoying legal, administrative and financial autonomy.

EASO acts as a centre of expertise on asylum, providing scientific and technical support to Member States, particularly to those whose asylum and reception systems are under particular pressure. Through its support function, EASO assists EU States in fulfilling their European and international obligations in the field of asylum.

The objectives of EASO are the following:

  • to facilitate, develop and coordinate practical cooperation among EU States on asylum by facilitating the exchange of information;
  • 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.
  • to coordinate activities relating to information on countries of origin by gathering relevant, reliable, accurate and up-to date information and by drafting reports on countries of origin;
  • to support EU Member States subject to particular pressure on their asylum and reception systems by providing technical and operational assistance.

In May 2016, as part of its proposed reform of the Common European Asylum System, the Commission presented a draft proposal to transform the existing European Asylum Support Office into a fully-fledged European Union Agency for Asylum.

The aim of the proposal is to strengthen the role of EASO and develop it into an agency which facilitates the implementation and improves the functioning of the CEAS.

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eu-LISA: EU Agency for large-scale IT systems

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:

EACEA: Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency

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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