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16th Aug 2022

Ex-Frontex chief 'uninvited' from parliament committee

  • Leggeri resigned in April as the head of the EU's border force Frontex (Photo: European Parliament)
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Fabrice Leggeri, the former head of the EU's border police Frontex, sought to attend a European Parliament committee meeting in mid-July.

But a majority of coordinators sitting on the budgetary control committee, where he wanted to appear, have told him to stay away.

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The parliament's budgetary control committee supervises how the EU institutions and its agencies spend money.

In May, the European Parliament refused to sign off on the agency's budget due to a slew of problems under Leggeri's command.

Other MEPs on the committee, including Dutch liberal Sophie In't Veld, were also unhappy about Leggeri trying to invite himself to their meeting.

"I have protested as I think the whole thing is entirely inappropriate," she said, in an email last week.

Leggeri had wanted to come to the committee's meeting on 13 July, presumedly to defend himself against a report from the EU's anti-fraud office, Olaf.

The Olaf probe reportedly dug into illegal pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers and is set to issue possibly two more reports on Frontex.

Leggeri had resigned over the affair in late April amid claims of surreptitious rule changes in the agency's mandate.

German centre-right MEP Monika Hohlmeier, who is the committee's chair, does not rule out future talks with Leggeri.

But her office said the 13 July session will not be dealing with the agency's past, where his input could be of some use.

"It is more about the future of where the agency is heading rather than again discussing the past," said her office.

"For the future we might invite him if we have a meeting discussing the past. We always put the question to the coordinators," it said.

The agency's current acting head Aija Kalnaja, who earlier this year told European lawmakers that Frontex had been left traumatised by Leggeri's legacy, is also set to attend the 13 July session.

So too is the chair of the agency's management board, Alexander Fritsch, as well as a senior European Commission official from DG Home, the branch which deals with migration issues.

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