BRUSSELS, JAN 18 – At the end of 2021, over 2,000 soldiers were deployed at the external borders of the EU and beyond by Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, which in a report on 2021 speaks of a “turning point” . In the twelve months, he then reported, over 17,000 people returned with the support of Frontex, and over a thousand smugglers were identified. In 2021, the first army corps officers were sent to the external borders of the EU, managed 19 operations, and achieved significant results in the fight against cross-border crime, as well as supporting Member States with border management. Standing officers from nearly all European countries have been tested in various countries and in a variety of conditions. They worked on the southeastern border of Finland, responded to hybrid threats at the eastern borders, witnessed evacuations from Afghanistan to Georgia and border management in Cyprus. The hybrid threat to the EU’s eastern border and the rapid deployment of permanent army corps officers are proof, says Frontex, that the service can support member states in all kinds of challenges. In 2021, Frontex recalls, among other things, the agency began to deploy a new profile within the standing corps of the European Border and Coast Guard: they are agents for the forced return escort and support officers. Their main task is to accompany people who have received a return decision from the national authorities, but also to identify and assist vulnerable groups or families with children. They are already present in four international airports, including Rome-Fiumicino International Airport (the others are Frankfurt, Amsterdam Schiphol and Vienna). Frontex plans to continue to deploy repatriation teams to other major EU international airports in the coming months. (HANDLE).