Paper presented at the EUSIM - The Governance of Asylum and Migration in the European Union, University of Salford - Centre for European Security - 26-27 January 2012
Building on the notion of 'agencies' as non-majoritarian instruments to professionalise (or 'depoliticise') EU policy making, this article examines whether the introduction of Frontex as an agency instrument in 2004 implied a major change in the management of the EU's border control compared to the earlier network. Even though formal evaluations have acknowledged the positive achievements of Frontex, this article questions whether those assessments actually help us to understand better the added value of Frontex as agency. To do so, the article draws from a legitimacy based model to assess the added-value of the agency. Input and output legitimacy are being assessed through a number of accountability mechanisms. The model is applied to the predecessor of Frontex (SCIFA+/PCU) and to Frontex. We conclude that the choice for the agency instrument was not sufficiently argued and that the design of Frontex hardly offers the advantages of the agency structure.