Working Arrangement between the United Kingdom and Frontex

Home Office written statement – made at on 23 February 2024.

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Photo of Michael Tomlinson Michael Tomlinson Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)

I am pleased to announce that a landmark working arrangement between the UK and Frontex (the European Border and Coast Guard Agency) is being launched today.

The working arrangement is a non-legally binding arrangement that provides a long-term framework for mutually beneficial cooperation with Frontex across a range of operational areas to tackle illegal migration and cross-border crime. A working arrangement is the standard means for non-EU countries to cooperate with Frontex and various other third countries have similar arrangements, including the USA, Canada, Albania and Ukraine.

Our aim is to work with Frontex through this arrangement to enhance our respective and joint operational responses to illegal migration and cross-border crime, making the UK’s and EU’s borders safer and more secure. This is another step in our cooperation with European partners to tackle illegal migration into and across Europe.

The working arrangement includes provision for cooperation on:

  • information and intelligence exchange, situational awareness and risk analysis, including through the framework of EUROSUR (the European Border Surveillance System);
  • training and capacity building;
  • cooperation on research and innovation projects;
  • technical and operational cooperation, including the deployment of UK and Frontex staff in observation, advisory, or coordination capacities;
  • sharing best practice and expertise, including on border management; and
  • exchange of Liaison Officers.

This follows the previous announcement regarding the opening of discussions on a working arrangement by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of the European Commission at the Council of Europe Summit in May 2023.

We intend to begin cooperation under this working arrangement as soon as possible, with an initial focus on sharing knowledge, expertise, and information on mutual priorities. Over the coming months, the Home Office will build on this by agreeing detailed cooperation and operational plans with Frontex to support further collaboration. We will announce more detail in due course.

Organised immigration crime and people smuggling are global challenges that require shared solutions and ambitions. Signing the working arrangement underscores our shared commitment to tackling illegal migration and organised immigration crime, be it in the Channel, along the EU’s external border, or further upstream.

The working arrangement and an accompanying Explanatory Memorandum will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and both documents will also be published on GOV.UK.