Frontex launches rapid intervention in Lithuania

The Executive Director of Frontex has agreed to launch a rapid border intervention at Lithuania’s border with Belarus to assist with the growing migration pressure.

Lithuanian authorities sent an official request for a rapid border intervention to Frontex on Saturday evening. Frontex has already sent officers and equipment to Lithuania on 1 July.

“The situation at Lithuania’s border with Belarus remains worrying. I have decided to send a rapid border intervention to Lithuania to strengthen EU’s external border,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.

“We will reinforce our assistance and send additional border guards, patrol cars and specialised officers for conducting interviews with migrants to gather information on criminal networks involved. This is EU solidarity in action,” he added.

Only in the first week of July, Lithuanian authorities recorded more than 800 illegal border crossings at its border with Belarus. While in the first half of the year most migrants came from Iraq, Iran and Syria, recently the authorities have seen a change in the composition of migratory flows. In July, nationals of the Republic of Congo, Gambia, Guinea, Mali and Senegal accounted for the majority of arrivals.

Rapid border interventions are designed to bring immediate assistance to an EU Member State that is under urgent and exceptional pressure at its external border, especially related to large numbers of non-EU nationals trying to enter its territory illegally.

Within the next days, the agency will deploy Frontex’s own border guards together with officers from the Member States as part of the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps. They will work alongside their Lithuanian colleagues to jointly show Europe’s response to the ongoing crisis.