Frontex is the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. It was founded in 2004. Frontex has its headquarters in Warsaw (Poland) and coordinates and supports the operational collaboration of the Schengen states to protect the Schengen external borders. Since in principle people can move within the Schengen area without border controls, comprehensive and coordinated control of the external border is important.
The Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS) has been participating in Frontex operations at the Schengen external borders since 2011. These activities are part of Switzerland's border management strategy.
The FOCBS is the national coordination office for Frontex and also represents Switzerland on Frontex's Management Board. In addition to operational deployments, Swiss experts participate in training programmes and various Frontex working groups.
On average, FOCBS employees work around 1,400 days a year for Frontex. The tasks of border protection experts during a Frontex deployment differ depending on the area of operation. So far, Switzerland has mainly participated in deployments in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Spain and Croatia. Swiss border guard experts are mainly deployed as debriefers (interviewers), document specialists, dog handlers and observers for one to four months. They are not deployed on coast guard vessels.