The History of IBM

Integrated Border Management (IBM) is the modern template for border management that has been adopted by the European Union, and also the model the EU recommends in its support to the countries of the Eastern Partnership

  • The first tangible evidence of Integrated Border Management was, post 9/11, when various US border authorities merged to form the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
  • In Europe, at the 2001 Laeken European Council meeting, heads of Government concluded that “better management of the Union’s external border controls will help in the fight against terrorism, illegal migration networks and the traffic in human beings”
  • The European Union then started to develop its own concept of IBM, a less comprehensive approach than the US model – where border agencies remained separate but adopted a “joint” approach to border management. The World Customs Organization called this the Coordinated Border Management approach
  • The European Union first applied IBM in the context of the EU’s support activities in the Western Balkans region during the period 2002-2006
  • In 2004 the European Union created Frontex, an agency dedicated to “the management of operational cooperation at the external borders of the Member States of the European Union”
  • In 2006, the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union concluded that the integrated management of the EU’s external borders consisted of common legislation (in particular the Schengen Borders Code); operational cooperation between Member States (with assistance from Frontex); and solidarity between Member States through the establishment of an External Borders Fund. It also established the essential aspects of IBM
  • In 2007, guidelines on the implementation of IBM (in third countries) that had been developed in 2004 to assist the Western Balkans initiative were updated by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development
  • The European Union has spent over €30 million in supporting various IBM programmes in Eastern Partnership countries since 2010 through the IBM Flagship Initiative
  • The IBM Flagship Initiative is one of six priority areas of cooperation between the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries. The other five relate to: small and medium sized enterprises; regional gas and electricity markets, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources; sustainable municipal development; good environmental governance and climate-change prevention; prevention, preparedness and response to natural and man-made disasters
  • The IBM Flagship Initiative is comprised of two types of activities: pilot projects focusing on infrastructural support at local level; and capacity-building activities
  • Until 2013, the capacity-building component of the IBM Flagship Initiative was called the EaP-IBM FIT Project. Now, it is called the EaP-IBM Capacity Building Project.