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«Brussels, 9.3.2009 SEC(2009) 320 final COMMISSIO STAFF WORKI G DOCUME T Third annual report on the development of a common policy on illegal ...»

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Brussels, 9.3.2009

SEC(2009) 320 final


Third annual report on the development of a common policy on illegal immigration,

smuggling and trafficking of human beings, external borders, and the return of illegal














1. I TRODUCTIO The third annual report provides an overview of the main developments between mid-2006 and the end of 2008 in key areas to curb illegal immigration, as also highlighted in the Commission's Communication on a Common Immigration Policy for Europe1 as well as in the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum. The Commission hereby also fulfils its obligation to report to the Council on progress made in implementing the measures announced in the July 2006 Communication on Policy priorities in the fight against illegal immigration of third-country nationals2.

In this context it must be borne in mind that the Commission's legislative proposals in this field have to be compatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and subject to an in-depth impact assessment on fundamental rights.3 Any limitation must be in compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and thus be in accordance with the law and necessary in a democratic society. Finally, Member States must respect fundamental rights when implementing Community obligations.

The structure of this report follows that of the previous reports presented on 25 October 20044 and 19 July 20065.

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Integrated management of External Borders - FRO TEX The European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRO TEX), which became operational in October 2005, coordinated 50 joint operations and 23 pilot projects during the reporting period (6 joint operations and 7 pilot projects in the second half of 2006; 22 joint operations and 10 pilot projects in 2007; 22 joint operations and 6 pilot projects in 2008). The joint operations have helped Member States to curb illegal immigration effectively and have led in many instances to a decrease in the pressure caused by illegal migratory movements. In 2008, FRONTEX and the Member States set about launching a number of joint operations at the external border areas that are the most exposed to illegal migration, notably at the southern maritime borders. The ongoing and foreseen joint operations will be implemented for a longer period of time and will benefit from a significantly increased budget compared to previous years.

In addition, FRONTEX has been carrying out risk analyses aiming at producing accurate and timely intelligence products (reports, threat and risk assessments) which provide the foundation for the Agency's operational activities as well as keeping Member States and the relevant Institutions (Council, European Parliament and Commission) informed of the current situation with regard to illegal immigration at the external borders. The Agency has issued Annual Risk Assessments concerning illegal immigration at the external borders of the

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At its meeting on 15 and 16 December 2005, the European Council adopted the Global Approach to Migration and called on FRONTEX to launch a feasibility study on reinforcing monitoring and surveillance of the southern maritime borders of the EU, namely in the Mediterranean Sea, and on a Mediterranean Coastal Patrol etwork involving EU Member States and North African countries, as early as possible in 2006. FRONTEX presented the "MEDSEA" study on 24 July 2006.

On 30 November 2006, the Commission tabled a Communication on "Reinforcing the management of the European Union's Southern Maritime Borders"6 suggesting a number of measures to cope with the increasing migration pressure. On the basis of the recommendations in the MEDSEA study, a permanent Coastal Patrol Network along the southern maritime borders of the European Union should be established and managed by FRONTEX together with the Member States of the region as soon as possible. The European Council endorsed this suggestion in its Conclusions adopted on 14 and 15 December 2006.

In order to establish a European Patrol etwork (EP ), a regional approach has been chosen as first step, on the basis of bilateral cooperation between neighbouring Member States.

FRONTEX and the Member States concerned (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Malta, Greece and Cyprus) are carrying out joint and/or coordinated patrols in border regions – initially in their respective territorial waters – between each pair of neighbouring Member States (Portugal/Spain, Spain/France, etc.). The EPN brings together, to a large extent, the existing patrolling activities of Member States. This, together with a regular exchange of information, should lead to more efficient control of the maritime borders and reduce the related costs according to the principle of burden sharing. As from February 2008, the EPN has been extended to Bulgaria and Romania.

In accordance with Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004 establishing FRONTEX, a Central Record of Available Technical Equipment ("CRATE") was set up in the course of 2007. CRATE is managed by FRONTEX, and for it 25 Member States have offered 22 fixed wing aircraft, 25 helicopters, 113 patrol vessels, three mobile radar units, 195 other items of border surveillance technical equipment and 136 items of technical equipment for border checks7. Equipment in CRATE remains the property of the contributing Member State and can be put at the disposal of a requesting Member State for a temporary period following a needs and risks analysis carried out by FRONTEX. Up to now no such request has been made. Equipment listed in CRATE can also be used for the purpose of FRONTEX-coordinated activities.

The European Parliament and Council adopted, in June 2007, Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 establishing a mechanism for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABITs) and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 (FRONTEX Regulation) as regards that mechanism and regulating the tasks and powers of guest officers. The Regulation entered into force on 20 August 2007. The RABIT mechanism aims to provide rapid operational

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In 2007 the Commission issued a Study on the international law instruments in relation to illegal immigration by sea8. The study analyses the current legal framework for the exercise of control and surveillance powers at the maritime external border, as well as the main obstacles to effective exercise of that surveillance, and suggests solutions that could involve, if necessary, the adoption of instruments amending or complementing the existing legal framework.

The Commission organised several meetings with experts from Member States, from FRONTEX and from relevant international organisations (UNHCR, IOM, and International Maritime Organisation) with a view to the preparation of practical guidelines for FRONTEX joint operations. Such guidelines should, inter alia, define more precisely the correct modus operandi for the interception of ships in the context of such operations, and define criteria for the sharing of responsibilities between Member States, for example with regard to identification of the place of disembarkation following rescue at sea or interception and to the protection of refugees.

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On 13 February 2008 the Commission presented a "Border Package" consisting of three Communications, accompanied by impact assessments, setting out a short- to medium-term vision for the development of integrated border management in the European Union.

As a follow-up to the December 2006 Conclusions of the European Council, FRONTEX presented on 12 January 2007 a technical feasibility study on establishing a surveillance system (BORTEC) covering the whole southern maritime border of the European Union and the Mediterranean Sea with the aim of saving lives at sea and tackling illegal immigration.

The results of this study have been taken into account in the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on Examining the creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)9.

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In March 2007 the Commission launched a preparatory study on the creation of an automated entry/exit system at the external borders and the introduction of a registered traveller programme. The purposes of this study were to identify and develop policy options available on the basis of a preliminary and integrated assessment of the direct and indirect social, economic and environmental impacts of the implementation of such systems at the external borders of the European Union. In order to assess from a technical perspective the feasibility as well as the costs of the options selected from the preliminary study and to propose the best technical solutions, a technical feasibility study was also launched in July 2007. The results of both studies were used in preparing a Communication, presented by the Commission on 13 February 200811, and in preparing a consultation paper adopted by the Commission on the technical options associated with setting up an entry/exit system at the external borders of the European Union and facilitating border crossing for bona fide travellers.

On the basis of the above-mentioned Commission Communications of 13 February 2008 ("Border Package"), the Council adopted a series of Conclusions on 5 June 2008 with regard to the future development of FRONTEX, EUROSUR and the coming challenges of EU External Border Management12, largely endorsing the content of the package and calling upon the Commission to take a number of follow-up measures including the presentation of legislative proposals. The main thrust of these conclusions was reflected in the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum.


The External Borders Fund was established by Decision o 574/2007/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 May 200713. This Fund forms part of the General Programme for "Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows". It has a financial envelope of 1.820 million euro for the period 2007 – 2013. The general objective of the Fund is to contribute to the development of a European common integrated border management system, including support for the immigration liaison officers' networks and the common visa policy.

The Fund will be implemented mainly through national programmes (shared management) and up to 6% of the total allocation will be used for Community actions to be implemented directly by the Commission. Moreover, each year the Commission shall establish a list of specific actions aimed at addressing weaknesses at strategic border crossing points identified in a risk analysis carried out by FRONTEX.

Throughout 2008 Member States submitted their programme documents and the description of management and control systems necessary to implement the programmes. Thanks to the efforts of Member States, in dialogue with the Commission, all 2007 and nearly all 2008 annual programmes were launched for approval by the Commission by mid-November 2008.

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In the light of the late entry into force of the Decision and the absorption capacity of the Member States as regards implementation of the Fund, no specific actions were budgeted for

2007. Following the two calls for proposals for the Community Actions 2007, around 10 projects on cooperation between Member States on immigration liaison officers in third countries and setting up common application centres were selected.

The 2008 annual work programme for Community actions and Specific actions was adopted in December 2008. There will be a call for proposals for pilot projects on the use of the VIS and for additional projects on immigration liaison officers and common application centres, to be launched by February 2009. The Commission will also use the available resources to fund a study on interagency cooperation in Member States between authorities involved in border control matters and customs services as proposed in the Report on the evaluation and future development of FRONTEX, and a feasibility study on ESTA as proposed in the Communication preparing the next steps in border management in the European Union.

Second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II)

During the second half of 2006 the detailed design phase of the SIS II project was completed and the technical specifications necessary to fully describe the SIS II, from a technical perspective, were delivered. Council Regulation (EC) o 1988/2006 amending Regulation o 2424/200114 and Council Decision 2006/1007/JHA amending Decision (EC) 2001/886/JHA15 on the development of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) were adopted in order to extend the duration of the Commission's mandate for developing SIS II until 31 December 2008. During the reporting period covered by this working document the Commission submitted every six months a progress report to the Council and the European Parliament concerning the development of SIS II16, highlighting, inter alia, difficulties encountered during the testing of the system. Between November and December 2008 the principal contractor for SIS II carried out the latest series of tests on the system. The test results did not meet the standard contractually required by the Commission.

The Commission, together with Member States' experts and two external IT consultancies, carried out an in-depth analysis of the current technical solution. The outcome of the analysis demonstrated that: the technical architecture of SIS II is viable and the problems repairable;

the test methodology should be reconsidered; a number of changes to the organisation of the 14 OJ L 411, 30.12.2006, p. 1.

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