Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri poses next to a Frontex vessel at the port of Algeciras in southern Spain | Photo: EPA/A.CARRASCO RAGEL
Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri poses next to a Frontex vessel at the port of Algeciras in southern Spain | Photo: EPA/A.CARRASCO RAGEL

A report by the European Parliament concludes that the EU border agency Frontex overlooked evidence of fundamental rights violations and "failed to address and follow-up on these violations promptly, vigilantly and effectively."

A report by the European Parliament's ad hoc Frontex Scrutiny Working Group (FSWG) said that "Frontex found evidence in support of allegations of fundamental rights violations in Member States with which it had a joint operation, but failed to address and follow-up on these violations promptly, vigilantly and effectively."

While many "trustworthy actors, such as national and international human rights organizations" reported rights violations at the border, "Frontex generally ignored such reports."

However, the authors state that they "did not find conclusive evidence on the direct performance of pushbacks and/or collective expulsions" by Frontex.

The working group was launched four months ago to investigate allegations that Frontex was involved in the pushbacks of asylum seekers at EU borders. Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri has denied that Frontex participated in pushbacks, stating there was no evidence to prove his agency took part in illegal activities.

Leggeri's concern for lack of collaboration

FSWG expressed concern for the "lack of cooperation" of Fabrice Leggeri, and "regrets his recurrent refusal to implement the recommendations of the Commission to ensure compliance with the newly adopted Frontex Regulation and the delay in recruitment of international observers for the safeguarding of fundamental rights."

"We recommend that the Commission, Member States and the Agency itself develop protocols to respond to search and rescue needs and save lives at sea, and to ensure sufficient capacity to coordinate search and rescue operations to ensure the protection of external borders in compliance with the fundamental rights of those who are among the most vulnerable. One cannot step on the finger of someone who hangs on the edge of a ravine with that finger," said EPP Chair Roberta Metsola (PPE) in presenting the conclusions of the report.

 

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