Friday

22nd Jan 2021

Exclusive

EU anti-fraud office launches probe into Frontex

The EU anti-fraud office Olaf has launched an investigation into the EU's border agency, Frontex.

"Olaf can confirm that it has opened an investigation concerning Frontex," Olaf's press office said in an email, on Monday (11 January).

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

  • Fabrice Leggeri is the head of EU's border and coast guard agency, Frontex (Photo: Frontex)

Olaf would not provide any further details.

EUobserver was tipped off to the investigation from an anonymous source, who alleged Olaf had raided the offices of Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri and his chief of cabinet in early December, given alleged misconduct.

EUobserver could not verify if Leggeri is indeed the target of the probe or whether his office was raided.

But a spokesperson from the Warsaw-based agency did not deny the details when asked for a comment.

"In keeping with its policy of transparency, Frontex is cooperating fully with Olaf," said a Frontex spokesperson.

He said Olaf visits to EU agencies in general are "normal practices of good governance" and that they do not imply any malpractice.

"They may also be triggered by the management of European bodies themselves," he said, noting that the agency cannot disclose any details of the investigation.

The probe comes amid increasing Frontex scrutiny, following numerous media reports last year implicating the agency in the push backs of migrants.

The allegations has sparked calls among MEPs to launch an inquiry into the Frontex chief.

Others, including the socialist grouping in the European Parliament, are demanding his resignation.

Those calls followed Leggeri's denial of any wrongdoing in a European Parliament grilling held last December.

The allegations of wrongdoing were detailed in October by German magazine Der Spiegel, as well as broadcaster ARD along with the Bellingcat website and others.

Ylva Johansson, the EU commissioner for home affairs, has also been pressing for responses - as scrutiny of the allegations intensifies while internal inquiries continue.

MEPs seek parliament inquiry into Frontex

Some MEPs now want a formal inquiry into Frontex, plus member states, and the European Commission over allegations of illegal pushbacks. Dutch MEP Tineke Strik says she has so far received backing from the Greens, liberals and far-left GUE.

Frontex takes transparency activists to EU court

The EU border agency Frontex's annual budget for 2020 is €460m. Now they are launching court proceedings against two pro-transparency campaigners for not paying them €24,000 in legal fees after losing a case last year.

EU to scrutinise Hungary 'ignoring asylum ruling'

The European Court of Justice told Hungary in December to stop forcing asylum seekers back into Serbia. The European Commission is now demanding Budapest follow the judgement - but Hungary has since reintroduced a special legal order, under Covid-19.

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.

Turkey snubs Greece on migrant returnees

The Greek government last week requested that the European Commission and EU border agency Frontex help return 1,450 failed asylum seekers to Turkey. Turkey has refused, citing the pandemic.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary buys Russia's Sputnik V vaccine
  2. Netherlands imposes curfew to halt new corona variant
  3. Green NGO fails to stop Europe's biggest gas burner
  4. Swedish minister reminds Europe of Russia's war
  5. Spain: Jesuit order apologises for decades of sexual abuse
  6. NGOs urge Borrell to address Egypt rights 'crisis'
  7. EU conflict-area education aid favours boys
  8. EU told to avoid hydrogen in building renovations

EU demands answers on Croat border attacks against migrants

EU commissioner Ylva Johansson wants to send her officials to Croatia sometime this month to make sure authorities there are complying with fundamental rights following numerous allegations of violence against migrants and asylum seekers attempting to cross into the country.

EU watchdog launches probe on Croat border violence

The European Ombudsman is launching a case into the lack of proper oversight by the European Commission when it comes to how fundamental rights of migrants and refugees are allegedly being violated by Croat border police.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. EU leaders keep open borders, despite new corona variant risk
  2. EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up
  3. Portugal's EU presidency marks return of corporate sponsors
  4. MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute
  5. EU warns UK to be 'very careful' in diplomatic status row
  6. A digital euro - could it happen?
  7. US returns to climate deal and WHO, as EU 'rejoices'
  8. Big tech: From Trump's best friend to censorship machine?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us