In a context of high politicization, if not securitization, of asylum and migration in Europe, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the EU – also known under its acronym FRONTEX – was created in 2004. Its activities have drawn a significant amount of attention and have been heavily criticised by human rights and pro-migrant groups. In contrast with most of the literature on FRONTEX, which focuses on its activities, this article examines the institutional issues associated with the creation and the work of FRONTEX, that is, the reasons for which Member States chose to create an agency, rather than establish another form of cooperation, and the specific mechanisms that they have put in place to exercise control over the activities of the Agency. The article, which is theoretically informed by the literature on European agencies, unveils a complex institutionalisation process, characterised by the existence of various models for increased cooperation and political struggles amongst the actors involved in the policy-making process.
FRONTEX, European agency, EU asylum and migration policy, borders, irregular migration
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