Crying Wolf Too Many Times: The Impact of the Emergency Narrative on Transparency in FRONTEX Joint Operations



Crisis-driven EU policy in recent years fits within a securitisation narrative, in which the claim of public security threat outweighs fundamental rights and their accountability safeguards. Under this policy development, Frontex, the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency, has experienced an impressive expansion in its powers and competences, without the equivalent enhancement of accountability safeguards. This article focuses in particular on the issue of transparency as a fundamental right and an element of social and political accountability. Specifically, it examines how lack of transparency in complex multi-actor structures, such as Frontex joint operations, can result in gaps in accountability and impact the enforcement of basic fundamental rights of EU citizens and migrants.

Using a conceptual perspective of accountability and securitisation, and highlighting specific gaps in transparency in the context of Frontex joint operations, this article aims to show how the lack of transparency has been determined by the situation of emergency and has continued to remain unaddressed due to a constant state of institutional emergency, feeding back into the perpetuation of the securitisation narrative.


Frontextransparencysecuritisationcrisisbordersfundamental rights
  • Year: 2021
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 4
  • Page/Article: 57–72
  • DOI: 10.36633/ulr.770
  • Published on 15 Feb 2022
  • Peer Reviewed