The European Parliament has refused to endorse the 2020 budget for Frontex. Parliamentarians said this was due to the agency's failure to protect the rights of migrants and its alleged involvement in pushbacks under previous executive director Fabrice Leggeri.
The European Parliament has refused to sign off on the 2020 accounts of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex.
In the text of the resolution approved on Tuesday (October 18) with 345 votes in favor, 284 against and eight abstentions, MEPs stressed the "magnitude of the serious misconducts committed" and other irregularities reported under Fabrice Leggeri, the previous executive director of the agency.
Leggeri resigned on April 28, 2022, following the release of a report by the EU's anti-fraud office OLAF.
Frontex involved in pushbacks?
Frontex didn't protect the rights of migrants, MEPs said. "The agency failed to protect the fundamental rights of migrants and asylum seekers and, according to media reports, was involved in the illegal pushbacks of at least 957 refugees between March 2020 and September 2021," they noted.
MEPs also expressed shock and deep concern "regarding the suicide of a staff member, related to alleged practices of sexual harassment," recalling that "at least 17 cases" of alleged sexual harassment in the agency were reported in 2020.
Frontex also did not implement some of the conditions set out in Parliament's previous discharge reports, they said.
EU parliamentarians: No returns to Hungary
The text demanded that Frontex's support for "return-related activities in Hungary be immediately suspended, given the rule of law situation in the country." The European Court of Justice has repeatedly ruled against Hungary in cases regarding its asylum policies, finding them to be in violation of EU law.
With regard to Greece, MEPs said they were "deeply concerned about the recent revelations that the former Frontex leadership was aware of people being pushed back illegally". Greece has repeatedly faced accusations that its authorities carry out illegal pushbacks in the Aegean and at the Evros river.