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EFCA launches the first Coast Guard Capacity Building and Training Exchange Programme

The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), in collaboration with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) has launched the first Coast Guard Capacity Building and Training Exchange Programme at European level. This initiative, funded by the European Commission, aims to bolster the development of an academy and training network and implement an exchange programme between administrations from different countries.

The exchange programme facilitates the exchange of theoretical and practical knowledge and  best practices among authorities engaged in coast guard functions. By doing so, the project contributes to preparing staff for joint missions and operations, benefiting EU Member States (MS), European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries and Schengen associated countries' coast guard authorities and entities. It offers participants valuable insights into international cooperation, crucial for joint missions, operations and exercises conducted at the EU level or with third countries. This programme is therefore also very relevant for the EU Maritime Security Strategy and Action Plan[1], which seeks to strengthen Europe's autonomy amid growing threats to maritime security. 

The first exchange took place in Sarzana, Italy, with participants from the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Portuguese Maritime Life Saving Institute in the Italian Coast Guard's Rescue Swimmer Course, with a week dedicated to theoretical and practical lessons.

Overall, there were 86 candidates that were assigned to an exchange and 34 candidates to reserve lists. The next exchanges for this semester involve authorities from Croatia, Finland, France, Italy, Romania, Portugal, Poland and Spain.

"The programme sets sail on a journey of collaboration, learning, and empowerment, striving to shape the future of coast guard functions across Europe,” said Susan Steele, EFCA Executive Director. "The Coast Guard Capacity Building and Training Exchange Programme is designed to be inclusive, covering a broad spectrum in the coast guard functions area. It promotes cross-sectorial collaboration, strengthens common understanding, and encourages inter-agency cooperation."

Visit the Coast Guard Portal to read more about the exchanges’ outcomes: The Exchange Programme | European Cooperation on Coast Guard Functions (



EFCA is an EU agency that promotes the highest common standards for the control, inspection, and surveillance under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). EFCA was established to organise operational coordination activities by the Member States and to assist them to cooperate so as to comply with the CFP rules in order to ensure its effective and uniform application.

With a view to reinforcing European cooperation on Coast guard functionsEFCA’s founding regulation was amended in September 2016 entrusting EFCA — together with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) — to support national authorities carrying out coast guard functions at national and Union level and where appropriate at international level.



[1] Council conclusions on the Revised EU Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS) and its Action Plan, 14280/23. Brussels, 24 October 2023.