Pål Erik Teigen’s ship has almost everything: a corpse freezer, a playroom with a movie screen and an enormous deck with sun protection that can hold over 1,100 people when Teigen’s crew pulls them out of the water. But the deck is sunless today, on a bleak afternoon in mid-November 2016. Rain is falling at the port of Catania, Sicily, where the Siem Pilot, the giant, signal-red flagship of the EU border protection agency Frontex is docked at the quay, taking aboard new crewmembers who have just arrived on the Alitalia flight from Rome.[1]

Teigen, 50, has been an officer with Norway’s criminal police Kripos for 30 years. To show what he does here, he runs a video on his laptop. A cheerful soundtrack jars with the images compiled by Norwegian navy members.

Usually the Siem Pilot traverses the North Sea supplying oil rigs. Since June 2015 however, it has been Norway’s most important contribution to managing the EU’s refugee crisis. The government in Oslo chartered the ship and paid for the 15-member crew, 11 Norwegian police officers, 10 marine soldiers and six coast guard officers.

Teigen is deployed as commander for the fourth time: ‘This was harder than all my years with the police put together.’ Tomorrow his last four-week assignment with Frontex will be over. ‘It was a strange summer,’ he sums up. ‘Sometimes 2,000 come, then 7,000, then it’s quiet for several weeks in between.’ The Siem Pilot has taken on board exactly 28,598 living and 91 dead persons during its Frontex deployment. In some cases, it took aboard people from other ships and brought them to Italy. ‘Why do I do it?’ Teigen asks himself. ‘For this,’ he says, showing a picture of two laughing African girls in a red lifeboat.

The Siem Pilot rescues people, but that is not its main reason for being here. In mid-April 2017, an unprecedented series of emergencies at sea broke out, endangering thousands of refugees and volunteer sea rescuers. Yet, the Siem Pilot did not respond until 24 hours later, taking aboard 150 people from a shipwrecked dinghy off the Libyan coast. Had activists from the Alarm Phone initiative not exerted public pressure, these people would probably have died.[2]

Normally Teigen’s boat navigates close to Italy, far away from Libya. It is no coincidence that the ship is commanded by a police officer. Refugee boats are ‘crime scenes’, his little film explains – crime scenes for people smuggling. Teigen’s real assignment is not to rescue the shipwrecked, but to fight people smugglers – regular police work. Teigen’s men and women are here to find those among the thousands of refugees and migrants who run sea crossings as a racket. While heading towards safe mainland ports, they observe the rescued migrants, photograph and question them, analyze mobile phones, examine corpses in a separate forensics department, take DNA samples. So far, they have located 300 ‘persons of interest’, smuggling suspects, and handed them over to the Italian police.

Teigen says the people on board are those whom his staff members can first get hold of. Beyond the sea, where smugglers are actually based, Frontex has no access, he explains. ‘We don’t know what’s in Libya. The closer we are to Libya, the riskier it is. Nothing works over there. When we get closer to Libya, we have to use binoculars to watch out for dangers.’

Border guards as diplomats

This is only partly true. In fact, Frontex has had its sights set on Africa for a long time. The agency, restructured in September 2016 as the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCG) (the short name Frontex was retained), needs no binoculars to find out what happens over there, from where the refugees start out towards Europe.

‘It is clear that cooperation with mi­grants’ countries of origin and transit is one of the key elements of a successful mi­gration management,’ writes Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri in an April 2017 annual report. Frontex had thus been ‘extending its reach beyond Europe’[3] for tasks ranging from information exchange to deportation cooperation.

The agency has closed formal ‘Working Arrangements’ with at least 19 states. The agreements allow Frontex to cooperate with national authorities, exchange officials and data and set common technical standards. The partners include mostly Eastern European states, but also the USA, Canada, Cape Verde and Nigeria. As Frontex is negotiating new arrangements with Libya, Morocco, Senegal, Mauritania, Egypt and Tunisia, its current focus is clearly Africa.

Frontex’ plan for the future is to extend Europe’s borders far beyond the Schengen Area to catch irregular migrants long before they enter. By ‘reinforcing and extending cooperations’ with so-called third states – those not belonging to the EU – the agency wants to fully exploit its mandate ‘in the area of the EU’s foreign and security policy’, states an internal November 2017 planning document.[4] A core goal of the new mandate is ‘operational cooperation with priority third countries’.[5] Frontex will send liaison officers[6] to prepare potential ‘operations on the territory of neighbouring third countries’.[7]

The EU would like to speed things up. In February 2017, EU presidency holder Malta invited member state representatives to a breakfast meeting in Valletta to prepare for the upcoming EU summit. The priority on the agenda was how to stop arrivals of refugees from Libya in Italy.

Frontex, they determined, should join forces with neighbor states to watch the Mediterranean using the satellite communication network ‘Seahorse Mediterranean’, which was initially set up by Spain. Furthermore, the EU diplomats asked the agency to tap into its own European-African Intelligence network.[8] Frontex had established the Africa-Frontex-Intelligence Community (AFIC) as one of four ‘Risk Analysis Networks’ it operates with countries outside the EU. Two of these networks include Eastern European states and one is for the Balkans and Turkey. The AFIC however, is the largest.

Since the AFIC’s founding in 2010, Frontex has invited African Intelligence heads to Warsaw dozens of times, every four months on average. 28 states are involved in the AFIC so far, including the dictatorships of Eritrea and Sudan. Frontex has also ‘invited’ Ethiopia, Algeria and Tunisia. Overall, more than half of the African continent participates in this ‘framework for regular knowledge and intelligence sharing in the field of border security’[9] – which describes the AFIC in Frontex-speak.

Regimes responsible for some of the refugees are also brought to the table. In Africa, like anywhere else, the less a state cares about basic human rights, the more it needs intelligence services to prop up its power. According to the outcomes of a recent Democracy Index, a measure of democracy in 167 countries published by The Economist, not a single one of the 28 AFIC states is a democracy, while 15 of them rank as ‘authoritarian’ and nine as ‘hybrid’. Frontex systematically collects information from these partners and helps them access secret intelligence from other African states.[10]

Once the AFIC just held meetings, but today it also shares data through an online platform. It trained African Intelligence members on EU databases and gave them user accounts so that they can feed information into the AFIC system every three months. Since May 2016, Frontex has created monthly reports from this data. The goal is a comprehensive, current picture of migration throughout Africa.

In 2016 the AFIC became a growing priority for Frontex. Among the people getting onto boats in Libya, hardly any were still coming from the Middle East – 91 percent came from Africa.[11] In order to convey a sense of ownership to the partners in Africa, the AFIC held two meetings there in 2016 – in Ghana in March, and in Mauritania in June.[12] Frontex proudly notes that the Africans were allowed to lead discussions.[13]

A 2017 AFIC report lists typologies of smugglers (‘ghetto boss,’ ‘fixer,’ ‘chasseur’), details on their car preferences (‘Toyota Hilux’) and the starting days for trips through the Sahara (at the time, ‘most likely Sundays’). Put together, all these trifles form an increasingly precise image of migration within Africa. In any case, we can assume the Intelligence is unlikely to publish its most interesting information.

Not their money anyhow

Frontex calls the AFIC ‘an unparalleled platform for information-sharing’.[14] In its seventh year of existence, the association had reached a new ‘enhanced maturity’ that ‘captured further attention from the key policy makers in Europe and Africa’.[15]

Frontex used to shun ‘further attention’. In its early years the agency was secretive, preferring to stay in the background. Not anymore. Today it responds to enquiries within hours; its director often makes public appearances and gives interviews. One reason could be Frontex’ growing importance. The EU has 44 agencies for specific policy areas, but none has grown as fast and been as well-endowed as Frontex. At its founding in Warsaw in 2006, it had 45 staff members and an annual budget of €12 million.[16] In 2016, Frontex had a budget of €254 million;[17] this could reach €320 million by 2020.[18] Of this, the Schengen states pay less than 10 percent and the European Commission pays over 90 percent.

The EU Commission wants to expand Frontex even further – preferably into a full-fledged border police force. The agency’s rebranding as EBCG in September 2016 was a major step, giving it a range of new powers in conducting deportations.

Frontex has organized joint deportation charter flights at the request – and expense – of EU member states for several years now. These transports carry deportees of the same nationality from all over Europe. In 2017, Frontex deported over 13,000 people, almost four times as many as in 2015.[19]

As the EBCG, Frontex can also conduct deportation flights at its own initiative and cost. The EU budget provides €63 million per year for this as of 2019.[20] To improve deportation efficiency, the agency can search Europe for matching deportees and make sure its planes fly at full capacity. The first months after the new arrangement show that national immigration authorities are happy to use the offer – after all, it’s not their money.

On 6 January 2017, a chartered plane took two rejected asylum seekers from Mali, Amadou Ba and Mamadou Drame from Düsseldorf to the Malian capital Bamako, accompanied just by a few German police officers. The flight, carried out by the Federal Police (Bundespolizei) by request of the Saale district, cost €82,000 and was paid by Frontex. To explain the nearly empty airplane, a speaker for the Ministry of the Interior of Saxony-Anhalt said: ‘No other German states currently had any need for repatriations to Mali.’[21] After all, Frontex paid for it. Why wait?

Ba and Drame had ‘sabotaged’ two previous deportations ‘through passive and active resistance’,[22] the speaker said. They had injured Federal Police officers, biting and kicking them. Another deportation via scheduled flight was therefore out of the question. Both men had spent the last three months in a German prison.

However, an online video shows one of the failed prior deportations on an Air France airliner in Paris on 27 October 2016.[23] It shows how Ba, visibly exhausted, is pushed into his seat by two much bulkier police officers while other passengers shout at them: ‘No violence!’ Ba is then taken off the plane.

Activists from the NGO Afrique-Europe-Interact (AEI) met with the two men after they reached Bamako. The men reported mistreatment during deportation. ‘They were bound at the ankles, knees and hands – the hands even twice with handcuffs and cable ties,’[24] says Olaf Bernau of AEI. ‘Their upper arms were also held tightly to their bodies with a wide chest strap, practically immobilizing them.’ The two men were forced to wait in this position for two to three hours before takeoff; Drame was restrained for the entire flight, Ba’s feet and knees were released after a few hours.

‘Return support’ is what Frontex calls this service for national immigration authorities. The chartered plane, accommodation for the escorts, meals on the ground and fees for medical personnel and interpreters are paid by Frontex. It can also finance the cost of obtaining passports for deportees and ‘voluntary departures’ from a country – all expenses that member states previously had to bear.

At the same time, Frontex is creating a pool of 690 ‘return experts’. These include police and border protection officers from the EU states initiating deportations; among them are also the so-called escorts. The EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) criticizes that Frontex escorts do not ‘necessarily have sufficient experience’ to ensure that deportees’ rights are observed.[25] Further, Frontex plans to dispatch ‘return specialists’ to EU member states to arrange deportations in case national authorities have been too lax.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR believes that people who do not need international protection should be deported more quickly and efficiently. This would help to ‘build trust in the integrity of the asylum system’, states a December 2016 publication. The UNHCR also recommends that Frontex cooperate more closely with countries of origin on readmissions.[26]

This is already happening. For a while, Frontex has been holding seminars for police officers from non-EU states, for example, on how to better recognize fake passports. Since 2010, it has conducted over 500 such courses outside the EU, most in Eastern Europe, some in Morocco. More are to follow. In reconstituting Frontex, the EU gave it a mandate to help African states cooperate with Europe on deportations. In March 2017, the EU Commission demanded that the agency make ‘more extensive use of this operation’.[27] By no later than October of that year, Frontex should start training officers from non-member states to accompany deportation flights from Europe – which would be far cheaper for the EU than continuing to send its member state police officers. The EU also set up a fund for this purpose.[28]

Frontex exists to protect borders. However, the agency itself knows no geographical boundaries. It continually develops activities in other states. By now, its ever-expanding new networks, platforms, dialogues and surveillance systems are beyond comprehension.

Please share with your neighbors

One focus for Frontex is Libya. About 650,000 people migrated irregularly from Libya to the EU between 2014 and 2018.[29]

Since November 2016, Frontex has been involved in training the Libyan coast guard through the EU military anti-smuggling ‘Operation Sophia’.[30] The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini, handed certificates to the first batch of officers on board the Italian battleship San Georgio in port at Valletta on 9 February 2017. The training mission is very controversial, and not just because it is unknown to which extent armed militant groups are involved with the Libyan coast guard. Yet the mission is one of the main elements of the EU’s anti-smuggling policy. By November 2018, 305 Libyans had completed the training. The graduates bring refugees picked up in Libyan territorial waters back to Libya.[31] The Libyan coast guard gets the initial data from Frontex, then from the satellite surveillance system EUROSUR via an exchange platform called SMART.[32]

As for the AFIC network, the EU’s plans go beyond tapping extensive information from the African Intelligences. African states are also to exchange information with each other so they can quickly react to new migration flows. The process will be tested in Libya. The European External Affairs Service (EEAS) describes its ideas in a January 2017 document; the paper states that the EU has built a border management network between Libya and its neighbor states to the south.[33] These states are to conduct dialogues on African border management within the AFIC, while Frontex could provide satellite images. These information exchanges would ‘use the AFIC’s full potential’, writes the EEAS.[34]

By March 2017, the EU foresees that again over 100,000 people could cross the sea from Libya to Italy that year. Due to the security situation at the time, Europe sends no officials to Libya, so Frontex was to watch the boats’ departure points via satellite and air surveillance. Using the new, satellite-based reconnaissance program EUROSUR, the agency was to identify refugee boats and notify the EU police authority Europol, stated leading EU officials.[35] It did not occur to them to share this data with sea rescue organizations even though the death toll from shipwrecks was higher than ever before.

The EU also worried about Libya’s neighbor Egypt, the most populous Arab state, with nearly 98 million people. In October 2016, Frontex dispatched a negotiating team to Cairo to talk the Egyptian government into closing a working agreement with Frontex and joining the reconnaissance network ‘Seahorse Mediterranean’.[36] However, Egypt refused.

Italian political scientist Paolo Cuttitta asked Egyptian officials about the reasons for their reluctance. Egypt was very ‘skeptical regarding the European Union and prefers to maintain bilateral relations with individual countries, which guarantee a greater possibility of manoeuvre and negotiation’, Cuttitta quotes one Egyptian official. The Frontex delegation’s visit to Cairo was ‘a novelty, it had never happened before’, the official’s colleague said. ‘I do not rule out that it may lead to a cooperation between Frontex and the Egyptian authorities, although the relations between Egypt and the EU, which are not ideal, will need to be improved before that.’[37]

Hence, in February 2017 the EU quintupled the budget for the Egyptian fund ‘Enhancing the Response to Migration Challenges in Egypt’ (ERMCE) for migration-related development projects to €60 million. However, the Egyptian government halted the project, as it could not agree with EU on exactly which activities should be funded.[38]

By 2018, the parties were closer to a resolution: Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri traveled to Cairo and ‘praised Egypt’s regional role, affirming that the European Union considers Egypt as one of the main partners in the region, especially regarding hindering illegal immigration. He also hailed the efforts of the Egyptian military’s border guards to stop illegal immigration across Egyptian borders with Europe’.[39]

That October, President al-Sisi visited German Chancellor Merkel in Berlin. ‘Egypt secures its maritime borders so well that there is effectively no migration from Egypt to Europe, although many refugees live in Egypt,’ Merkel said. ‘This is worthy of great recognition, and so we are supporting Egypt with an untied loan of €500 million.’[40]

Antennas in the desert

Frontex is also increasingly active beyond the Maghreb these days. From September 2015 to January 2017, for example, there were 11 top-level diplomatic meetings between Niger and the EU, one of them being Merkel’s visit to the Sahel state. The goal was always the same: The key transit country should cut off the trans-Saharan migration route.

This diplomatic marathon gave Frontex a growing influence in the country. In March 2017, Frontex Director Leggeri traveled to the capital, Niamey. Calling Niger ‘an indispensable and pivotal partner’ in the ‘common challenges that are affecting our two continents’, he opened the country’s first AFIC meeting at the Hotel Soluxe with Niger’s Minister of State for the Interior, Mohamed Bazoum.[41] Afterwards, Leggeri dispatched a liaison officer to Niamey, the first long-term posting to a sub-Saharan state. In November 2018, Frontex opened the first Risk Analysis Cell.

According to the US web portal ‘Homeland Security Today’:[42]

‘The role of these cells, which are run by local analysts trained by Frontex, is to “collect and analyze strategic data on cross-border crime in various African countries and support relevant authorities involved in border management.” The data can include information on illegal border crossings, document fraud, trafficking in human beings and other types of cross-border crime. It is shared with authorities at national and regional level to produce analysis and policy recommendations, as well as with Frontex. The Risk Analysis Cell in Niger is the first of eight such cells that was established in the framework of the Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community (AFIC). The remaining cells will be established in Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria, Guinea and Mali until the end of 2019.’

EU High Representative Mogherini met Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama in Brussels in March 2016. Africa’s most populous state was also the first to close a working arrangement with Frontex in 2012.[43] Mogherini negotiated permission for Frontex to continue intervening in Nigeria’s border management, and call Nigerian officials to Europe on identification missions so that they could issue travel documents to repatriate large numbers of deportees.[44] After a visit by EU Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip in February 2017, Nigeria and the EU agreed to further active cooperation against people smuggling on the basis of the AFIC and on the new bilateral ‘Cooperation Platform on People Smuggling’.[45]

A free hand with foreign policy

In December 2016, the EU provided €5 million for a project in Sudan: the ‘Regional Operational Centre in support of the Khartoum Process and AU-Horn of Africa Initiative’ (ROCK)[46] at the Police Higher Academy in Khartoum. Its purpose is to bolster information exchange between the countries of the Khartoum Process on irregular migration and people smuggling networks. EU diplomats on the ground called this plan ‘the most sensitive project in Sudan’.[47] ROCK will also serve to strengthen East African cooperation with Interpol, Europol and the AFIC.

Why is it even possible for an agency charged with guarding Europe’s borders to send German police officers, Romanian customs officials or Finish passport falsification experts halfway around the world? By what right can the EU deploy Frontex so far outside its territory?

Frontex’ major goal is to reduce the numbers of irregular migrants reaching European borders. To achieve this, the agency developed a multi-tiered model for ‘integrated border management’, as described in Article 4 of the 2016 Frontex Regulations.[48] One of its points is ‘cooperation with third countries’, particularly those ‘which have been identified through risk analysis as being countries of origin and/or transit for illegal immigration’.

In these cases, EU law gives Frontex a relatively free hand. Article 54 states, in essence, that in ‘cooperation with third countries’, the agency must comply with EU foreign policy and observe refugees’ basic rights, especially ‘the principle of non-refoulement’.[49]

But if it does not – what then?

The only thing still gravely underfunded is an effective mechanism for supervision and complaints. Those who are illegally turned away or deported by EU border protection agents have little recourse. This complaint, raised by many refugee and human rights organizations, is now shared by members of the EU Parliament. Frontex must provide more staff and funding to protect basic freedoms and to handle asylum applicants’ complaints, warns the EU Committee on Civil Liberties.

Particularly since the 2007 introduction of Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABIT) – police officers from across the EU deployed to the external border – human rights organizations have severely criticized Frontex. They accused the agency of violating the rights of asylum and non-refoulement, the right to leave one’s country of origin and the rights to privacy and personal data protection; even of flouting the ban on torture and degrading treatment. So Frontex came up with a fundamental rights strategy on 31 March 2011[50] and designated Spanish UN lawyer Inmaculada Arnaez Fernandez as Human Rights Officer one year later.[51]

Yet censure from human rights organizations continued. In particular, they denounced Frontex for tolerating fundamental rights violations in the brutal and sometimes deadly practices of national coast guards.[52] Corresponding reports came mainly from the Aegean – for example, a fatal incident off the Greek island of Farmakonisi, or direct refugee pushbacks by the Hellenic Coast Guard on the high seas. Moreover, Frontex reportedly violated human rights at the ‘hotspot’ registration centers in Italy and Greece.[53]

Today, within Europe, politicians, NGOs and the media are watching Frontex’ every move. Yet, the farther from Europe the agency operates, the less intense the scrutiny. This is especially true of EU border protection missions in Africa, as shown by the Frontex ‘Operation Hera’ initiated at Spain’s request. The agency’s longest-running mission to date began at sea and by air on 17 July 2006. Frontex intercepted boats traveling from Mauritania or Senegal to the Spanish Canary Islands and escorted them back. Some of the passengers were brought to the Nouadhibou detention camp in Mauritania. Spain had wrested permission from the governments of Morocco, Senegal and Mauritania for the European coast guard to patrol in their territorial waters. After a while, hardly any refugees reached the Canaries anymore.

How did Frontex do it?

The Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) believes that the border guards may simply have turned all intercepted migrants into Mauritanian and Senegalese citizens on the spot and skipped checking their asylum claims and the requirement of calling interpreters. In 2016, the ECCHR wants to investigate whether Frontex could thereby have violated fundamental rights and EU law.[54] That May, the legal nonprofit asks Frontex for access to 12 documents pertinent to Operation Hera.

Only after the ECCHR threatened legal action did Frontex provide the documents – ‘heavily censored.’ In the Handbook to the Operational Plan, for example, just 48 of the 99 pages were not blacked out; in an Evaluation Report on Hera, 21 of 26 remained uncensored. The internally documented ‘List of potential fundamental rights violations within Frontex activities’ was removed altogether. Frontex justified the censorship to ECCHR by arguing that ‘publication would affect public security’. So it remains unclear what EU officers have been doing in African territorial waters all these years. The ECCHR concludes: Operation Hera is still ‘opaque and unaccountable.’[55]

  1. Visit on board the ship, November 2016
  2. Jakob, Christian (2017) ‘Schrecklicheres verhindert’, tageszeitung, 17 April | http://bit.ly/2uRHwac
  3. Frontex (2017) Risk Analysis for 2017, Warsaw, February 2017 | http://bit.ly/2lKrFIs
  4. Frontex (2017) Programming Document 2019 – 2021, Warsaw, 7 November, p. 18| https://bit.ly/2ObkvZj
  5. European Commission (2017) ‘European Agenda on Migration: Commission reports on progress in making the new European Border and Coast Guard fully operational’, European Commission press release, Brussels, 25 January 2017 | https://bit.ly/2jebvBF
  6. Frontex (2015) Single Programming Document 2016-2019, Warsaw, 24 December 2015, p. 17 | https://bit.ly/2IQQ1wT
  7. European Commission press release, Brussels, 25 January 2017 | https://bit.ly/2jebvBF
  8. Statewatch News (2017) ‘Malta Summit – External aspects of migration’, 19 January | http://bit.ly/2v1gGzm
  9. Frontex (2016) Africa-Frontex-Intelligence Community Joint Report 2016, Warsaw, April 2017, p. 8 | http://bit.ly/2vZi1nh
  10. Ibid., p. 9
  11. Frontex (2017) Risk Analysis for 2017, Warsaw, February 2017, p. 20 | http://bit.ly/2lKrFIs
  12. Frontex (2016) Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community Joint Report 2016, Warsaw, April 2017 p. 9 | http://bit.ly/2vZi1nh
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid., p. 8
  15. Ibid.
  16. Frontex (2006) Annual Report 2006, Warsaw, 2007 | https://bit.ly/2SpgXTP
  17. Frontex (2016) Frontex Final Accounts 2016, Warsaw, 30 June 2017, pp. 32-35 | https://bit.ly/2tGh3wm
  18. Eder, Florian (2016) ‘New border force guards Europe’s “broken fence”’, Politico, 10 June | http://politi.co/2dximHe
  19. Frontex (2019) Return, Operations, Frontex, 2019 | https://bit.ly/2Ua2XyW
  20. Frontex (2019) Budget VOBU 2019 Warsaw, 1 January | https://bit.ly/2OeXiFO
  21. Jakob, Christian (2017) ‘Zwei One-Way-Tickets für 82.000 Euro’, tageszeitung, 26 January | http://bit.ly/2hhMREp
  22. Personal information/conversation, 24 January 2017
  23. Afrique Europe Interact (2016) ‘Video Amadou Ba Flugzeug’, YouTube, 7 December | http://bit.ly/2vZoOgT
  24. Personal interview, 25 January 2017
  25. EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2016) Opinion of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights on fundamental rights in the “hotspots” set up in Greece and Italy Vienna, 29 November, p. 10 | https://bit.ly/2BT1PII
  26. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2016) 'Better Protecting Refugees in the EU and Globally: UNHCR’s proposals to rebuild trust through better management, partnership and solidarity’, December 2016, p. 17 | http://bit.ly/2h9FgXt
  27. EU Commission (2017) On a more effective return policy in the European Union. A renewed action plan, Brussels, 2 March | http://bit.ly/2mi5oRR
  28. EU Commission (2015) Refugee Crisis: European Commission takes decisive action, Strasbourg, 9 September | http://bit.ly/1iwsGOJ
  29. UNHCR Operational Portal, Refugee Situations, Italy | https://bit.ly/2riHwgV
  30. EU Commission (2017) Migration on the Central Mediterranean route. Managing flows, saving lives, Brussels, 25 January, pp. 5-7 | http://bit.ly/2kxOOc3
  31. Ibid.
  32. European Union External Action Service (2016) ‘EUNAVFOR MED Op SOPHIA - Six Monthly Report 1 January - 31 October 2016, Council document 14978/16, RESTRICTED, 30 November 2016’, Statewatch News, 28 February 2019 | https://bit.ly/2v9PSZK
  33. EU Commission (2017) Migration on the Central Mediterranean route. Managing flows, saving lives, Brussels, 25 January 2017, pp. 11-14 | http://bit.ly/2kxOOc3
  34. Ibid, p. 14
  35. EU Presidency in agreement with the President of the European Council (2017) ‘Malta Summit – External aspects of migration’, Statewatch News, 19 January | http://bit.ly/2v1gGzm
  36. European External Action Service and EU Commission (2016) ‘Options on developing cooperation with Egypt in migration matters.’ Statewatch news, 1 March 2019, p. 6 | http://bit.ly/2wf4yXX
  37. Cuttitta, Paolo (2017) Viewpoint Egypt: Europe’s other north African border, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, April 2017, p. 10 | http://bit.ly/2vY9u4g
  38. Ibid.
  39. Egypt Today (2018) ‘EU’s FRONTEX head praises Egypt’s role in halting illegal immigration’, Cairo, 27 June | https://bit.ly/2TdOzEH
  40. Speech by Chancellor Merkel (2017) ‘Pressekonferenz von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel und dem aegyptischen Präsidenten Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’, Bundesregierung, Berlin, 30 October 2017, (accessed 1 March 2019) | https://bit.ly/2Xxwwg3
  41. Mixed Migration Hub (2017) February Trend Bulletin 2017, Cairo, 28 February | http://bit.ly/2vZiwhd
  42. Homeland Security Today (2018) ‘Frontex opens first Risk Analysis Cell in Niger’, 29 November | https://bit.ly/2TlXfgj
  43. ‘Frontex signs Working Arrangement with Nigeria’, Frontex news release, 19 January 2012, (accessed 18 March 2019) | https://bit.ly/2W6ntkr
  44. Ibid.
  45. European Commission (2017) Commission reports on progress under the migration partnership framework and increased action along the Central Mediterranean Route, European Commission Fact Sheet, Brussels, 2 March | https://bit.ly/2TLjWeD
  46. European Commission (2016) Regional Operational Centre in support of the Khartoum Process and AU-Horn of Africa Initiative Action Document, International Cooperation and Development, 19 December 2016 | http://bit.ly/2hhAzMf
  47. Statewatch News (2017) GUE/NGL Delegation (2017) EU and Italian cooperation with Sudan on border control: what is at stake? Report GUE/NGL Delegation to Khartoum, Sudan 19 – 22 December 2016, GUE/NGL Delegation, p. 9,  2 March 2019 | https://bit.ly/2IO7K89
  48. European Union (2016) Regulation (EU) 2016 / 1624, Official Journal, 16 September 2016, p.12 | https://bit.ly/2SEXwGt
  49. Ibid., p.44
  50. Statewatch (2011) Frontex Fundamental Rights Strategy, Frontex Management Board, Frontex Observatory, 31 March, (accessed 2 March 2019)| https://bit.ly/2BZjrms
  51. Frontex (2012) ‘Management Board designates Fundamental Rights Officer’, Euro-police, Frontex press release, Warsaw, 27 September 2012, (accessed 2 March 2019) | https://bit.ly/2EIqBx3
  52. Jakob, Christian (2013) ‘Brutale Zurückweisung’, tageszeitung, 7 November | http://bit.ly/2tSh1jx | and Jakob, Christian (2016) ‘Rabiater Rechtsbruch’, tageszeitung, 16 June | http://bit.ly/2tSfPwr
  53. Amnesty International (2016) Hotspot Italy – How EU’s flagship approach leads to violations of refugee and migrants rights, Amnesty Report Index EUR 30/5004/2016, London, October 2016 | http://bit.ly/2eCgnTE
  54. Wriedt, Vera and Reinhardt, Darius (2016) Analysis: Opaque and unaccountable: Frontex Operation Hera, Statewatch Analyses, No. 307, February 2016, (accessed March 2, 2019) | http://bit.ly/2pZD0Ga
  55. Ibid.


Dictators as Gatekeepers for Europe Copyright © 2019 by Christoph Links Verlag GmbH. All Rights Reserved.

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