Frontex coordinates cooperation between European border authorities
Frontex — the European Border and Coast Guard Agency — coordinates joint operations between European border authorities. EU Member States, countries in the Schengen area and countries outside the EU participate in Frontex operations. Finland has been participating in the development of Frontex activities for years.
Finland active in Frontex operations
Despite its small size, Finland participates actively in Frontex operations. Each year, Finland sends dozens of experts to locations around Europe to provide support for other countries in border security matters.
Finnish experts participate in operations in airports of various countries, in order to combat people smuggling and illegal immigration. You may run into a Finnish border management professional in Zürich or Madrid airport, for example.
Finland also sends border guards to the external, land border crossings of European countries. Finland participates in operations at border crossings in nearby areas such as Norway's Storskog or Estonia's Narva, as well as outside the EU in places such as Serbia or Macedonia.
European land border areas facing pressure from illegal immigration are reinforced with border patrols. Accompanied by their dogs, Finnish border management professionals participate in joint operations in countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Hungary.
Finland correspondingly receives support from other countries. Frontex operations have been ongoing at Helsinki Airport, the Port of Helsinki and at a number of Finland's eastern border crossings. At these locations, it is possible to meet foreign public officials working in Finland on the basis of Frontex funding, under the leadership of the Finnish Border Guard.
Maritime border patrols and maritime search and rescue in the Mediterranean Sea
Maritime borders have faced the greatest pressure from illegal immigration in recent years. For this reason, the Finnish Border Guard has provided support to Italy and Greece in particular. Finnish border management experts participate in interviews of illegal migrants at ports and reception centres.
Most resources invested relate to equipment used in surveillance of maritime borders. Finland has provided support to Mediterranean countries by sending assistance such as a surveillance aircraft, a patrol vessel and patrol boats.
At sea, in addition to border surveillance, tasks include rescuing persons in distress and environmental monitoring. This type of operation, based on multiple tasks, saves money and achieves better results.
Rapid reaction pool on stand-by
Finland has 30 border guards and various items of technical equipment on stand-by in case the border security situation deteriorates and a Member State needs urgent help. This rapid reaction pool enables the sending of effective help to Member States facing pressure on their borders.
Frontex also supports Member States by offering training, situation awareness and help with research and development. Additional costs incurred by the Finnish authorities due to participation in Frontex operations are covered from the European Union budget.
Matti Pitkäniitty, Head of Unit, tel. +358 295 421 131, [email protected]