In 2004, the Council of the European Union established a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the member states of the European Union (Frontex).1 It was mandated to improve ‘the integrated management of the external borders’2 and contribute ‘to an efficient, high and uniform level of control on persons and surveillance’.3 The creation of Frontex is often regarded as an important shift from traditional approaches to border management.4 Whereas member states’ cooperation in this field was initiated within an intergovernmental framework, it is now managed by ‘a body of the Union’5

with legal, administrative and financial autonomy.6