EU: Recruitment of Frontex "standing corps" of border guards not going to plan


The establishment of a new "standing corps" of border guards directly employed by Frontex was revered by the agency as a “game changer” when it was introduced in the 2019 recast of the agency’s legislation. Since then, it has been scrambling to fulfil the new staffing obligations, and the Management Board is not happy with the agency's efforts.

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Although the first teams of long and short-term seconded officers deployed by member states (categories 2 and 3, respectively) have already been launched, the Management Board (MB) notes that it is "very concerned that the Agency has effectively recruited 419 [category 1] officers… of which only 255 have completed basic training to be ready for deployment".

700 members of the standing corps’ category 1, which by 2027 is supposed to be made up of 3,000 officials employed directly by Frontex, were supposed to be deployment ready as of 1 January 2021.  

A recent analysis by Politico outlines a "chaotic recruitment", including testimonies by anonymous job applicants of abrupt changes in plans after being offered positions, cancelled deployments, withdrawn job offers, lack of communication, and lax measures to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 in training centres.  

According to the MB, Frontex now plans to make a total of 650 category 1 officers available for deployment in 2021. This falls short of the Management Board’s expectations, and it will next discuss the matter at its meeting in March 2021.

The following conclusions can be found on Frontex’s website here.

"Given the above considerations, the Management Board urges the Executive Director to ensure that:

    • all 700 operational statutory staff required by the Management Board Decision of 3 April 2020 are available for deployment as team members as soon as possible. This includes the possibility of launching additional calls for interest;
    • all 40 Fundamental Rights monitors are recruited without any further delay as provided for in Regulation 2019/1896;
    • 80 out of the 242 staff members of the ETIAS Central Unit are effectively recruited in the course of 2021 to support the implementation of the system and 162 remaining staff members by the first half of 2022, so that they will be fully available when the system becomes operational;
    • the necessary preparations are made as soon as possible to ensure that 500 additional standing corps statutory staff are recruited and trained for their effective deployment as of 1 January 2023, as required by the Regulation 2019/1896;
    • the Management Board is informed monthly in writing on the progress in implementing the above points."

Image: Frontex

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