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Document 52024SC0075

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT EVALUATION Accompanying the document REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on the evaluation of Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 on the European Border and Coast Guard, including a review of the Standing Corps

SWD/2024/75 final

Brussels, 2.2.2024

SWD(2024) 75 final



Accompanying the document


on the evaluation of Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 on the European Border and Coast Guard, including a review of the Standing Corps

{COM(2024) 75 final}

Table of contents


Purpose and scope of the evaluation    

2.What was the expected outcome of the intervention?

2.1    Description of the intervention and its objectives    

2.2    Points of comparison    

3.How has the situation evolved over the evaluation period?

Current state of play    

4.Evaluation findings (analytical part)

4.1.To what extent was the intervention successful and why?

4.1.1. Coherence    

4.1.2. Effectiveness Governance and organisational structure of Frontex Operations Return Situational awareness Capability development Cooperation with EU institutions, agencies and third countries Fundamental Rights    

4.1.3. Efficiency Use of human and financial resources by Frontex Costs and benefits generated by the EBCG Regulation    

4.1.4. Standing Corps    

4.2.How did the EU intervention make a difference and to whom?

4.3.Is the intervention still relevant?

5.What are the conclusions and lessons learned?

Annex I: Procedural Information

Annex II. Methodology and Analytical models used

Annex III. Evaluation matrix and, where relevant, Details on answers to the evaluation questions (by criterion)

Annex III.A Evaluation of the ebcg regulation, Details on answers to the evaluation questions

Annex III.B Review of the standing corps, Details on answers to the review questions

Annex IV. Overview of benefits and costs

Annex V. Stakeholders consultation - Synopsis report


Term or acronym

Meaning or definition


Advanced Level Document Officer


Border Management and Visa Policy Instrument


European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training


Frontex’s Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights Matters


Common Integrated Risk Analysis Model


Common Security and Defence Policy


Common Vulnerability Assessment Methodology


Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance


Data Protection Officer


European Border and Coast Guard


European Court of Auditors


European Criminal Records Information System – Third Country National


Executive Director


European Data Protection Supervisor


European External Action Service


Entry/Exit System


European Fisheries Control Agency


European Integrated Border Management


European Maritime Safety Agency


European Parliament


European Public Prosecutor’s Office


European Travel Information and Authorisation System


European Union Agency for Asylum


European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom Security and Justice


European Return Liaison Officer


European Dactyloscopy database


European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation


False and Authentic Documents Online


Frontex Application for Return


Frontex Return Escort and Support Officer


Fundamental Rights Agency


Fundamental Rights Monitor


Fundamental Rights Officer


Frontex Scrutiny Working Group


Internal Audit Capability

ICF study

Study to support the evaluation of the EBCG Regulation and review of the Standing Corps – Final report (2023)


International Centre for Migration Policy Development


International Labour Organisation


Integrated Political Crisis Response


Integrated Return Management Application


Integrated Situation Awareness and Analysis on the Migration Refugee Situation


Internal Security Fund


Inter-Service Group


Joint Operation


Joint Return Operation


Joint Integration Services


Key Performance Indicator


European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs


Allied Maritime Command


Management Board


Multiannual Financial Framework


Member State


North Atlantic Treaty Organisation


Non-Governmental Organisation


European Anti-Fraud Office


Rapid Border Intervention


Rescue Coordination Centre


Return Case Management System


Schengen Associated Countries


Search and Rescue


EU Satellite Centre


Standing Corps


Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum


Standing Corps Officer


Serious Incident Report


Schengen Information System


Standard Operation Procedure


Single Programming Document


Strategic Risk Analysis


Technical Equipment Pool


Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union


Technical and Operational Strategy on European Integrated Border Management


Terms of Reference


Visa Information System


World Customs Organisation


Purpose and scope of the evaluation

In late June 2022, the European Commission launched the evaluation of Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG Regulation) 1 to analyse its implementation according to the specific criteria set out in the Commission’s Better Regulation Guidelines, namely effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value. 2 The evaluation also analyses the scope and content of the EBCG Regulation and the state of implementation of the Regulation’s provisions. Beside the specific criteria listed above, the evaluation is subdivided in the following main thematic areas: coherence, governance and organisational structure, operations, return, situational awareness, capability development, cooperation with EU institutions, agencies, international organisations and third countries, fundamental rights, use of human and financial resources, costs and benefits generated by the EBCG Regulation, and the Standing Corps. The evaluation was in part informed by an external study 3 .

Article 121 of the EBCG Regulation requires the Commission to carry out an evaluation of the Regulation by 5 December 2023 and every four years thereafter. The Commission is also required to report to the European Parliament (EP), the Council and the Management Board (MB) of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex’ or ‘Agency’) on the findings of the evaluation. Article 121 sets the scope of the evaluation 4 .

The EBCG Regulation also calls on the Commission to carry out a review of the Standing Corps (SC) created by the 2019 EBCG Regulation. The results of the review should be presented to the EP and to the Council by 31 December 2023. Article 59 sets the scope of the review 5 . 

The findings of the review are also included in this staff working document, as the SC forms an integral part of the EBCG.

The evaluation covers the implementation of the EBCG Regulation from its entry into force in December 2019 to October 2023 6 . A wide range of stakeholders were consulted as part of the evaluation both directly by the Commission 7 and by the external contractor (ICF Consulting Services Limited  (ICF)) that carried out the study, including Member States, the EP, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and relevant EU agencies. A detailed description of the stakeholder consultation is presented in Annex I and in Annex V. In line with the Better Regulation Guidelines, an Inter-Service Group (ISG) was set up within the Commission to accompany the evaluation process. 

The evaluation analyses whether the EBCG Regulation was successful in applying the effectiveness, efficiency, and coherence criteria. This part includes an analysis of the legal coherence and policy framework governing Frontex and the EBCG. The findings on effectiveness are divided into the key thematic areas.

Furthermore, the evaluation analyses the relevance and EU added value criteria, by assessing to what extent the new mandate of the Agency, introduced in 2019, has contributed to achieving the objectives of the EBCG as a whole, and to what extent it has supported Member States in implementing effective border management in full respect of fundamental rights and contributed to increase the efficiency of the Union’s return policy. Additionally, this section evaluates whether the objectives of the EBCG could have been achieved sufficiently by Member States acting alone.

Finally, the evaluation looks at the relevance of the EBCG Regulation in the context of current and emerging needs and challenges at EU external borders. This includes assessing the relevance of the EBCG Regulation in terms of its overall scope and objectives, as well as the relevance of Frontex’s tasks prescribed in the Regulation.

The external study was conducted through a mixed methods approach 8 and was informed by the triangulation of a variety of sources. A range of methodological tools and techniques were used. For more details on the methodology please see Annex II.

The evaluation takes stock of the state of play in the implementation of the EBCG Regulation and identifies any inconsistencies in the legislative framework or gaps in the implementation, to feed into the future work of the Commission, Frontex, and Member States.

The limitation of this evaluation and of the review of the SC is that the implementation of the EBCG Regulation is still ongoing and will only be completed in 2027. Accordingly, the implementation of a number of key elements of the Regulation (e.g. integrated capability planning, the setting-up of the SC, European integrated border management (EIBM)) is a work in progress. While this situation does not call into question the validity of the findings presented in the document, it sets a clear limitation to the conclusions that can be drawn with respect to the need to propose changes to the legislation.

Finally, as the vast majority of the provisions of the EBCG Regulation regulate Frontex, this evaluation primarily focuses on analysing the functioning of, and the results achieved by, the Agency, including its objectives, mandate, resources, and tasks. At the same time, the evaluation also considers the EBCG as a whole, in particular in the context of EIBM and the cooperation between Member States and the Agency.

2.What was the expected outcome of the intervention?

2.1 Description of the intervention and its objectives

Established by Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2004 9 , the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union – as it was called at the time - took up its responsibilities on 1 May 2005. The Agency was established to improve the integrated management of the external borders by facilitating and rendering more effective the application of existing and future Community measures relating to the management of external borders. The Regulation was amended in 2007 and in 2011. The 2016 EBCG Regulation 10 repealed the 2007 Frontex Regulation. Two years after the entry into force of the 2016 Regulation, the Commission proposed a new Regulation to reinforce the Agency, which came into force on 4 December 2019 (current EBCG Regulation). It was adopted without conducting a prior impact assessment, largely due to the political expectation to prepare and adopt the proposal within a very short timeframe. The 2019 EBCG Regulation repealed the 2016 Regulation. Overall, the Agency progressively moved away from coordination and adopted a more operational role, eventually incorporating the EU’s first uniformed service with executive powers, the Standing Corps.

The EBCG is composed of the Agency and of the national authorities of the Member States responsible for border management, including coast guards to the extent that they carry out border control tasks, as well as national authorities responsible for return. Member States have the primary responsibility for managing their sections of the external border and are responsible for issuing return decisions, while the Agency should support the Member States in applying EU measures relating to the management of the external borders and returns 11 .

The EBCG Regulation’s general objective was to address the need for a permanent and reliable solution, by providing the Agency with the necessary capabilities to support Member States in addressing migratory challenges and potential future threats at the EU’s external borders and efficiently managing those borders, as well as to support returns in an effective manner. The Regulation significantly expanded the Agency’s mandate, including by:

Setting up the EBCG SC, comprising 10 000 staff, which is to be fully operational by 2027;

Significantly increasing the Agency’s budget to acquire, maintain and operate technical equipment (e.g. patrol cars, vessels);

Laying down the basis for improved coordination processes and mechanisms between the Agency and national authorities;

Scaling up the Agency’s support in all phases of return procedures (pre-return, i.e. identification and acquisition of travel documents, return operations, voluntary returns, post-arrival and reintegration); and

Strengthening cooperation with third countries, including through the deployment of the SC, exchange of information and facilitation in the field of returns;

The intervention logic below serves to depict the chain of expected effects associated with the EBCG Regulation, by identifying needs and objectives of the EBCG as well as input and actions to achieve the outputs, outcomes and impacts in line with the five evaluation criteria (relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency and EU added value).

Figure 1: Intervention logic of the EBCG Regulation 12