The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCG), commonly called Frontex (from French: Frontières extérieures for “external borders”), is an agency of the European Union headquartered in Warsaw, Poland, tasked with border control of the European Schengen Area, in coordination with the border and coast guards of Schengen Area member states.
Mission and Tasks of the Agency
The mission of Frontex – the European Border and Coast Guard Agency – is to promote, coordinate and develop European border management in line with the EU fundamental rights charter and the concept of Integrated Border Management.
Apart from Frontex’s specific mandate tasks such as:
- monitoring migratory flows and carrying out risk analysis regarding all aspects of integrated border management,
- carrying out a vulnerability assessment,
- monitoring the management of the external borders,
- coordinating and organising joint operations and rapid border interventions to assist Member States at the external borders,
- supporting search and rescue operations,
- deploying European Border and Coast Guard teams, including a rapid reaction pool for joint operations and rapid border interventions,
- creating a technical equipment pool,
- providing support at hotspot areas with screening, debriefing, identification and fingerprinting,
- supporting the development of technical standards for equipment,
- deploying equipment, border guards and other staff from the rapid reaction pool, assisting Member States in fulfilling their return obligations,
- fighting organised cross-border crime and terrorism at the external borders by supporting Member States in cooperation with Europol and Eurojust,
- setting up pools of forced-return monitors, forced-return escorts and return specialists,
- setting up and deploying return intervention teams during return interventions,
- developing and operating information systems,
- assisting in the development and operation of EUROSUR and the development of a common information-sharing environment,
- supporting Member States’ coast guard authorities through cooperation with the European Fisheries Control Agency and the European Maritime Safety Agency; providing services, information, equipment and training, and coordinating multipurpose operations,
- assisting technical and operational cooperation between Member States and third countries.
Frontex also promotes training as one of its core tasks resides in supporting the training of Member States’ border guards, other relevant staff and experts, including the establishment of common training standards as well as participating in research and innovation activities.
Every country has its own border security needs. While sea borders are the focus of islands like Cyprus and Malta, other countries, such as Austria, have no sea border but are surrounded by land borders. Similarly, the systems and structures each country uses vary enormously — some have specialist border guards, while others use police units or other authorities for border control. Hence, each EU Member State has its own training solutions. In order for the border authorities of all these countries to work together to the same standards, common grounds need to be established, and this is where Frontex comes in.
Frontex vision is to represent excellence in border guard education and training, promoting the development of a common European border guard culture with high professional and ethical standards. This is achieved by supporting capacity building in Member States and Partner Countries, and by developing and implementing harmonised, learner-centred and cost-effective training products, based on the implementation of an integrated border management approach.
Frontex training activities are carried out on the basis of regular activities and training projects which are designed through joint efforts of Frontex and experts from Member States, supported by other EU Agencies and international organisations. Courses are mainly targeted towards trainers who can train other border guards in their country, in their own language. Standardised results are ensured through the use of Frontex training tools and through guidelines given to multiplier trainers. With this approach, all border guard officers can be trained in the same training standards in their mother tongue.
Frontex target learners are European law enforcement officers with Border Guard function at all levels. Frontex has developed and supported the national implementation of the common standards for border guard basic education (CCC). The organisation delivers standardized courses for mid-level border guards (MLC), and provides a wide range of specialized further training courses (stolen vehicles, false documents, training for Schengen evaluators, interviewing officers etc). It also delivers “operational” training programmes designed to ensure harmonized performance and a high level of interoperability in joint operations and common missions at EU borders.
The training activities aim at building capacities in four main areas:
- Educational Standards
- European Border Guard Team (EBGT) Training
- Thematic Training Support
- Training infrastructures and networks
Frontex uses different training approaches: training sessions e.g. face-to-face, blended or online, self-directed learning e.g. eLearning tools and mobility/exchange programmes. Education and training for border guards in the Member States are aligned to the Bologna and Copenhagen principles and the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF).
European Joint Master’s in Strategic Border Management
‘The common European border guard culture needs leadership’
The activities of Frontex in the field of border guard education aim to promote a European border guard culture with high standards on fundamental rights, ethics and leadership. The rationale for developing a European joint master’s programme is to be found in the aim of Frontex to develop common European learning standards for border guard officers (common core curricula), and the necessity to create frameworks for engaging law enforcement officers in various forms of exchange and mobility programmes and to contribute to the development of a common culture and common approach to European border security, in accordance with Frontex’s mandate in the field of border guard training.
The rationale for developing European Joint Master’s in Strategic Border Management has its roots in Frontex regulation which stipulates the development of common European learning standards for Border Guard Officers (common core curricula). It is also informed by the Stockholm Programme that emphasizes the necessity to create frameworks for engaging law enforcement officers in various forms of exchange and mobility programmes, to contribute to the development of a common culture and common approach to European border security, in accordance with Frontex mandate in the field of Border Guard training.
The European Joint Master’s in Strategic Border Management is a unique opportunity to study in a joint programme where the leading expertise is drawn from across the European Union (EU), valuing cooperation between operational and academic approaches and encouraging peer-learning.
The ethos of the programme has at its core the enhancement of interoperability at EU borders and harmonisation of learning and professional standards whilst respecting diversity, in line with the Bologna process. The master’s is inclusive of international expertise for delivery of the programme and is accessible to all EU organisations with a border guard function. The programme is designed in accordance with the highest standards of higher education in the European Higher Education Area as a programme where the learning has practical application for the Member States (MS) and Schengen Associated Countries (SAC) Border Guard organisations, who are the ultimate beneficiaries.
The need to achieve a European border guard (BG) common culture resides in the BG organisations’ role as drivers of organisational culture and organisational change, to promote a culture within the organisations that integrates shared EU values and facilitates that border guards at all levels (from front-line operational officers to specialists and managers) work together and that they understand and apply common practices and EU procedures, therefore increasing the deployability of BG experts in joint operations. The programme’s focus on strategic leadership and European cooperation contributes to BG organisations development in this respect.
This European Joint Masters in Strategic Border Management constitutes 90 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits. The duration of the programme is 18 months, during which the students study in a different institution together with their peers in the classroom. It is delivered over three stages. Each stage represents one semester of full-time study, carrying 30 ECTS credits.
Upon graduation, the students are awarded a joint diploma of a European Joint Master’s in Strategic Border Management that is signed by all the academic partners and recognised as a Master’s degree internationally.
Common culture and best expertise from across the EU
The programme supports an integrated strategic and intelligence-driven approach to border management. It aims to apply management principles to organisational development. It promotes European harmonisation and the interoperability of border guard activities by training the future leaders in the light of common European learning standards, philosophy and values.
The teachers are academics and experienced operational officers from all across the EU that have an outstanding ability to transfer their knowledge, skills and competences to the students in an interactive and applied manner.
Academic and Professional Excellence
The European Joint Master’s in Strategic Border Management has been developed under the lead of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). Over 20 Member States (MS), Schengen associated countries (SACs) and partner organisations joined their efforts, knowledge and experience to create a European border guard higher education.
The programme is delivered by a consortium of Frontex and Europe’s leading universities in collaboration with border guard academies and training institutions that bring in the operational expertise: Estonian Academy of Security Sciences (Estonia), University of Salamanca (Spain), National University for Distance-Learning Education (Spain), Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania), Rezekne Academy of Technologies (Latvia), and Netherlands Defence Academy Faculty of Military Science (the Netherlands).
Distinct student experience
Academic Partners of the Consortium provide inspiring locations for studies and offer first class academic facilities. The flexible learning paradigm uses a blended learning approach including e-learning solutions. This facilitates access to the programme for busy officers and allows them to remain connected to the operational environment and their job needs as well as to their study group.
The students profit from the extensive resources available in the different institutions as well as from the European reach of the alumni of the programme. The programme offers its students unparalleled opportunities — the chance to exploit the resources of the top institutions while simultaneously meeting students from all over Europe, and earn a truly European degree.
The joint programme creates exciting networking opportunities.
CENTRE FOR QUALITY ASSESSMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION (SKVC)
The main objectives of SKVC (Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education) are to promote the quality of activities of higher education institutions and to contribute to creation of favourable conditions for the free movement of persons.
Established in 1995, SKVC is the only external quality assurance agency responsible for evaluation of all types of higher education institutions in Lithuania (state and private, universities and colleges). SKVC also acts as a local ENIC/NARIC office carrying out academic recognition of foreign credentials and providing information on higher education systems and qualifications recognition.
SKVC not only evaluates and monitors quality of higher education institutions and study programmes, but also contributes towards drafting legal acts, offers advice including relevant examples of the best international practices and develops various guidelines. We provide training for academics and administrative staff, including top level managers of universities and colleges, also for high school graduates, students, and labor market representatives on issues of quality and recognition of qualifications.
Internationalisation is a key aspect of our activities, and cooperation with many stakeholders both locally and on European level are among our cherished values. Independence, professionalism and quality of SKVC is attested by the facts that after a positive external review against compliance towards the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG), SKVC is a full member of ENQA (European Network of Quality Assurance Agencies) and listed in the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR). SKVC is also a full member of INQAAHE (International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education) and founding member of CEENQA (Central and Eastern European Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education).
Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) is an international university located in Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania. Modern, creative and entrepreneurial academic community has raised MRU to the leading university in social sciences and interdisciplinary research in Lithuania. MRU cooperates closely with over 300 universities, public and private institutions, takes part in academic, professional and inter-sectorial networks. MRU has a full membership of the following international higher education organizations: International Association of Universities, European University Association, European Association for International Education, European-Asian Knowledge Consortium Social Technologies for Smart and Inclusive Society, etc.
MRU is structured within the Faculty of Economics and Business Management, Faculty of Politics and Management, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Public Security, Business and Media School. Research and innovation are implemented at the Social Innovations Laboratory Network MRU LAB that includes 16 laboratories and Research and Innovation Support Centre.
Currently, MRU enrolls approximately 8.000 students and employs over 600 academic staff. The university offers more than 100 doctoral, master and bachelor study programmes, over 80% of them have international accreditation. The most popular study programmes are law, management, public administration, psychology, social work, public security, etc. About 200 doctoral students study in the fields of law, management, psychology, philology, economics, educational science.
MRU fosters the culture of research and innovation: carries out fundamental and applied research, takes part in national and international research programmes and projects, engages in contracted research, implements Ph.D. studies, organizes academic and mobility events, and widely disseminates research results. MRU research and innovation is carried out in the framework of the interdisciplinary priority research area Social Innovations for Global Growth and 5 research programmes:
• Justice, Security and Human Rights;
• Social Technologies;
• Sustainable Growth in the Context of Globalization;
• Improving the Quality of Life and Advancing Employment Opportunities;
• Continuity and Change of Values in Global Society.
MRU has modern and innovative infrastructure: recently built premises surrounded by green areas, the latest research and educational ICT equipment, one of the most modern academic libraries in Europe, open access to research resources, research and innovation management platforms, online studies facilities, etc. According to the latest data of Rotten WiFi the quality of WiFi places MRU in second place among universities in the world.