The EU has established agencies in the area of Home Affairs to support EU Member States and their citizens in coping with new tasks of specific nature. Together, CEPOL, EASO, EMCDDA, eu-LISA, Europol and EBCGA (FRONTEX) 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 Research Executive Agency (REA).
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 development 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 (SAR) 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.
The EBCGA is located in Warsaw (Poland).
Europol assists EU Member States' police forces in preventing and combating serious crime such as terrorism, drug trafficking, people smuggling, cybercrime, and other organised crime activities. The services offered by Europol to national law enforcement services include facilitating exchanges of information, providing criminal analyses and threat assessments, and assisting and coordinating cross border investigations and operational actions. 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. It became an EU agency in 2010, and its founding act was most recently revised in 2016 (EU Regulation 2016/794), to bring it in line with the Lisbon Treaty. Europol is located in The Hague (The Netherlands).
CEPOL is an agency of the European Union dedicated to develop, implement and coordinate training for law enforcement officials.
Since 1 July 2016, CEPOL’s official name is “The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training”.
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 for organised and serious international 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.
CEPOL is located in Budapest (Hungary).
Independent, science-based information is vital for helping Europe understand the nature of its drug problem and to better respond to it. The role of EMCDDA is to provide the EU and its Member 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 practices 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 centres 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 is located in Lisbon (Portugal).
Video source: EMCDDA
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 (CEAS).
EASO acts as a centre of expertise on asylum, providing scientific and technical support to Member Member States, particularly to those whose asylum and reception systems are under particular pressure. Through its support function, EASO assists EU Member States in fulfilling their European and international obligations in the field of asylum.
The objectives of EASO are the following:
In May 2016, as part of its proposed reform of the CEAS, 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.
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).