Status: 23.02.2021 02:12 a.m.
As of today, a review group in the EU Parliament is investigating the European border protection agency Frontex. The central question is whether the agency systematically committed human rights violations.
From Matthias Reiche,
ARD studio Brussels
The Frontex review group set up by the Interior Committee has four months to question witnesses and experts. Then the 14 MEPs have to present their report to parliament on possible misconduct by the EU border guards.
ARD studio Brussels
A central point here are the so-called pushbacks in the Aegean Sea, the illegal driving back of people seeking protection, explains Erik Marquardt. For the Greens, he belongs to the research group.
I hope that we can quickly shed light on the darkness, because it was really an absurd situation that in the past few months we have learned more from the newspaper about what is happening at the EU’s external borders than from the border surveillance agency Frontex. It is clear that this should also protect human rights, and apparently it always systematically looks the other way when human rights violations occur at the external borders.
Frontex boss rejects allegations
And she may also be involved in such pushbacks herself, which media research suggests. Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri already rejected the allegations in the EU Parliament last November.
In the six cases that were reported in various media on October 23, 2020, I am referring to Spiegel, ARD and others, we did not find any evidence that there was an active, direct or indirect involvement of Frontex employees or by Frontex officials at such pushbacks.
The importance of Frontex for the protection of the EU’s external borders has increased steadily, says Lena Dupont. For the domestic policy spokeswoman for the CDU / CSU group, it is therefore important that the EU border guards have legal security. She is hoping for something from the results of the work of the research group to which she belongs as a representative of the EPP, the largest parliamentary group.
Of course, compliance with basic human rights will also be at stake, and the current pushback allegations will also be discussed. But it is also about the question of the internal reporting system, the management structures and, above all, the question of responsibility towards the European Parliament, which we want to strengthen with this. ”
Resignation of the Frontex director demanded
Because so far there is also a lack of control mechanisms. Left, social democratic and Green MPs in particular are therefore already calling for the Frontex director to resign.
Birgit Sippel, domestic policy spokeswoman for the Social Democrats in the EU Parliament, said in writing on request: “It is already clear to us that Executive Director Leggeri has to vacate his post after he had shown devastating behavior in the investigation of the countless and serious allegations Parliament has demonstrated. The long-known and serious involvement in human rights violations should be enough for that. ”
There are also reports of a possible case of fraud, massive problems in internal administration, favoritism and bullying, and secret lobbying meetings with the armaments industry. Many parliamentarians would therefore like to put the entire top management of the border protection agency to the test.
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