Frontex Annual Report 2022
On 28 February 2023, Frontex published its Annual Report for the year 2022. The report outlines the changes Frontex saw in 2022, gives a picture of the deployment of its standing corps and their operational support, and provides examples of its crisis response. It illustrates the agency’s fight against cross-border crime, its work regarding return and reintegration, and its efforts to put fundamental rights at the centre of its activities.
In 2022, Frontex deployed more than 2000 standing corps officers at the EU’s external borders every month. Outside the EU, the agency was active in operations in Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania. A crisis response team/mechanism provided support at the EU-Ukraine borders and assisted non-Ukrainian and non-EU citizens fleeing the war in Ukraine in reaching their home countries. Five joint action days were also coordinated by Frontex to deal with drug and firearms smuggling, document fraud, stolen cars, and the trafficking of human beings (THB).
Other noteworthy figures are: In 2022, 24,850 persons were returned and 53,000 persons were rescued at sea with Frontex' support. 1888 people smugglers were arrested, 2174 weapons and 96 tonnes of drugs seized, and 406 stolen cars detected. 134 potential victims of THB were able to be detected and 104 new criminal cases opened.
However, in the year 2022, the agency also faced a series of internal turbulences, including the resignation of the Executive Director (→eucrim news of 21 June 2022) and investigations by OLAF into serious misconduct on the part of Frontex (→eucrim news of 30 November 2022). Hence, in 2022, the agency implemented a series of changes:
- Strengthening of the Fundamental Rights Office;
- Creation of a network of fundamental rights focal points in all its entities in order to develop fundamental rights expertise in all areas of activity;
- Recruitment of 40 fundamental rights monitors;
- Establishment of internal audits for better governance, compliance, and accountability;
- Revision of the Serious Incident Reporting mechanism to improve the reporting on events at the external borders, including fundamental rights violations.
Ultimately, the well-being of staff and fostering a change in management culture within the agency was given priority. Finally, in December 2022, the Frontex Management Board appointed Lieutenant General Hans Leijtens, Commander of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, as the agency’s new Executive Director.