On 30 September, Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri traveled to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport to meet with a team of Frontex standing corps officers who are supporting the Netherlands with return-related activities and border management.
The officers represent a new profile within the European Border and Coast Guard standing corps – forced-return escort and support officers. Their main task is to escort persons who have received a return decision from national authorities, but also to identify and assist vulnerable groups or families with children.
They have been deployed to Schiphol, an international hub that sees thousands of passengers every month, in the beginning of September.
“With the standing corps, the EU’s first uniformed service, we provide a tailor-made and flexible service to Member States. After Frankfurt and Fiumicino in Rome, this is the third international hub where Frontex sent its standing corps officers to assist with return operations. The forced-return escort and support officers working at Schiphol will not only support Dutch authorities, but also other Member States that use the airport as transit for their return operations,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri during his visit.
The forced-return escort and support officers are experts who have completed specialized training prior to their deployment. They have also attended a one-week briefing at Frontex tailor-made for their deployment in Amsterdam and an additional week of training organised by Dutch authorities. The officers are trained in mediation techniques, first aid procedures, children and vulnerable groups protection.
“On behalf of the Royal Netherlands Marechauussee I would like to welcome the forced-return and support officers at Schiphol Airport. I would like to underline the importance of the cooperation between Frontex and the Member States to strengthen EU’s border management and to exchange knowledge,” said Laurent Hendrickx, Director Operations Royal Netherlands Marechausse.
Already now, Frontex assists Member States in the return of one in every five persons who had no right to remain in the EU. Last year, despite numerous restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Frontex assisted in returning more than 12,000 people not entitled to remain in the EU upon decision of the relevant national authorities.
The officers will be fully integrated in local teams to work closely together with the Dutch colleagues.
Frontex plans to continue deploying additional return teams at other key EU international airports in the coming months.