Frontex: from border controller to guarantor of migrants’ rights? The Spanish case

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Yarza Jordano, Lucía
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In recent years, Europe has faced a great increase in arrivals to its shores and thus, the challenge to balance border security and human security. As the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex is responsible for the surveillance of Europe’s external borders and the earliest entity performing the first assessment to migrants. This following study examines whether or not and to which extent, Frontex has developed its mandate to guarantee migrants’ rights during operations in the Western Mediterranean and African routes and uses Spain as a case study. The first part of this research analyzes the legal framework of Frontex, the improvements achieved with new adopted regulations and its collaboration with Spain. The second part frames human smuggling, one of the main concerns in Europe’s security agenda, and presents the mechanisms utilized by Frontex to counter it. The third part examines the case of Spain, its legal framework in operations and the trainings provided to border guard to guarantee that they perform their activities in accordance with fundamental rights and the moral obligations of the EU. This study will claim that taking into account the findings, Frontex has indeed improved its human rights assessment during operations hosted by Spain. However, further strategies should be implemented to enhance Frontex’ accountability and hence, find the complete balance between border and human security. Keywords: Frontex, migrant, border management, human smuggling, human rights, border guards, Spain.
Second semester University: University of Hamburg
Europe, boundaries, migrations, smuggling, Spain