The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament today supported setting up an investigation into Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. If approved, a Working Group led by MEPs in the committee of civil liberties, justice and home affairs, will probe the recent alleged violations of fundamental rights against Frontex, with a final report to conclude the investigation. In this report, MEPs would also address issues such as the lack of transparency in Frontex and its reporting procedures, as well as the internal management of the EU’s largest agency.
The S&D Group called for the Frontex Executive Director Leggeri to resign in December, as a result of his repeated mishandling of the allegations of pushbacks and fundamental rights’ violations by the border agency.
Kati Piri, S&D MEP and Vice President for Migration, said:
“It has been nearly two months since our Group called for the Executive Director of Frontex to resign, due to Mr. Leggeri’s persistent failures to properly address the serious allegations of Frontex’ involvement in illegal pushbacks of migrants.
The extent of the allegations that plague Frontex, and the number of blatant rights violations that we see every day, are a clear sign that the agency has much deeper-rooted problems. Through an investigation in the European Parliament, led by MEPs in the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, we want to see the full extent of Frontex’s failings when it comes to respecting fundamental rights.”
Birgit Sippel, S&D spokesperson on the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:
“Frontex’s reputation has gone from bad to worse in recent months. Change starts from the top and that’s why we urged the Frontex Director to stand down, following repeated allegations of fundamental rights violations at the EU’s borders. While Mr Leggeri is still in office, he is not in control of the situation. The result is not only that the credibility of the EU’s largest agency is in shreds, but it has meant that the disgraceful and unacceptable pushbacks of vulnerable people at Europe’s borders keep taking place. Frontex' decision to pull out of Hungary, where pushbacks were well documented even after a recent ruling of the European Court of Justice, is a welcome first step in the right direction. But this step comes too late and is too little to restore the confidence in the Executive Director of the EU's largest agency.
There are serious allegations that still require answers. There is gross mismanagement that still requires transparency and accountability. To put it simply, we know there have been serious failings in Frontex and with the full picture, we can start to put the agency back on the right course. With this investigation we can shine a much-needed light on the agency’s operations and give clear instructions on how to change the way Frontex works to ensure full compliance with fundamental rights and prevent any further violations in the future.”