Thursday

5th Aug 2021

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

  • Fabrice Leggeri is under intense scrutiny (Photo: Frontex)

The head of the European border control agency, Fabrice Leggeri, has said he welcomes European Parliament scrutiny of the under-fire Warsaw-based institution.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Robert Schuman Foundation in Paris on Thursday (25 February), Leggeri suggested such a probe should have already been launched.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"I salute the creation of this scrutiny group, and I think it is largely about time," he said in French, noting that similar probes already exist for the EU's police agency Europol.

"There is one for Europol, there is one for Schengen, and there was not one for the European corps which will have 10,000 guards," he said.

MEPs in the European Parliament civil liberties committee earlier this week held their first meeting in the so-called Frontex Scrutiny Working Group.

The group was set up following allegations Frontex had been involved in the illegal pushbacks of migrants in the Aegean sea between Greece and Turkey.

Composed of some 14 MEPs from across the political spectrum, the group plans to gather evidence against the agency when it comes to possible violations of fundamental rights.

"There will be recommendations and they are welcomed," he said, claiming the agency will be cleared of any wrong-doing.

The launch of the MEP probe follows a separate investigation.

Last December, the EU's anti-fraud office Olaf had raided Frontex, on issues dealing with management and human resources.

That too implicates Leggeri, as well as his chief of staff, amid calls by MEPs for his resignation.

But Leggeri appeared unconcerned with Olaf.

"Investigations like Olaf are investigations that happen," he said.

He has also been under fire for failing to hire some 40 fundamental right monitors by the end of last year, as required. The issue has riled the European Commission.

"We are not perfect," noted Leggeri of the delays.

European Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas, speaking at the same event, also weighed in.

"All these questions of transition are questions of management that need to be resolved," he said of the agency.

"The director has the executive responsibility to do it and he is responsible before the management board," said Schinas.

But Schinas also drew a line.

He said he rejected any attempts to weaken the agency "at a moment we need it the most."

Exclusive

EU anti-fraud office launches probe into Frontex

EUobserver was tipped off about the investigation by an anonymous source, who said Olaf had raided the offices of Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri and his chef de cabinet in early December given alleged misconduct.

Exclusive

Frontex spent €94,000 on a dinner in Warsaw

The European Border and Coast Guard Day is held every May. The event includes movies, football and volleyball matches between Frontex and national border guards, shooting competitions and exercises to detect smugglers.

EU Parliament to hold Frontex probe behind closed doors

Earlier this month the European Parliament set up a permanent probe into the EU's border agency Frontex. Now that the Frontex boss is set for his first grilling, MEPs have decided to keep the public in the dark.

EU Commission cannot hold Frontex to account

MEPs probing the EU's border agency Frontex cross-examined the agency's director. They also spoke to EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson, who made it clear she had little sway over the agency.

Frontex's 'serious incident reports' - revealed

Out of the seven serious incident reports shared with this website, five deal with allegations against Greek authorities, while the remainder describe separate incidents in Germany and Hungary.

News in Brief

  1. EU secures deal with Novavax for potential Covid-19 vaccine
  2. France fined €10m for failing to tackle air pollution
  3. Fire near Athens forces thousands to evacuate
  4. EU to Lebanon: 'deliver results' on Beirut blast probe
  5. Belarus opposition leader demands regime end
  6. Croatia's border-monitoring of migrant rights 'falls short'
  7. Court stops Austria's Afghan deportation, as conflict worsens
  8. 'Missing' Belarus exiles group chief found dead in Kyiv

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Italy seeks EU help on migrant boat arrivals
  2. WHO calls for vaccine-booster pause to help poor countries
  3. Romania selling on its jabs, despite low vaccination rates
  4. Cyprus' Varosha is Erdogan's canary in the coalmine
  5. Europe sees drop in Covid-19 cases
  6. Burkinis and 'soul caps' - policing Olympic women back in fashion
  7. Telegram groups lure migrant hopefuls to Lithuania
  8. Third-time lucky for one Syrian grandmother in Denmark

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us