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17th Jan 2022

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The European Union has blood on its hands - we can't be complicit

  • MEP Clare Daly holds up images of images of violent pushbacks by the Croatian border patrol. This Thursday, MEPs are called to vote on the budget discharge of Frontex. The European Parliament can't be complicit (Photo: The Left)
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The European Union has blood on its hands. The blood of the thousands of people drowning in its seas, frostbitten at its borders, dying after being illegally pushed back.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has estimated that only in the Mediterranean 22,726 people have gone missing since 2014.

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This downward calculation, hides the stories and destinies of women, men, and children abandoned by Europe.

Frontex is one of the core actors of the EU's migration policy, based on the militarisation of borders and dehumanisation of people. Numerous complaints and reports from social organisations, as well as complaints from the victims themselves, reveal the role of Frontex and its persistent violations of fundamental rights.

This Thursday (21 October), MEPs are called to vote on the budget discharge of Frontex. The European Parliament can't be complicit. We won't be complicit.

The annual discharge procedure allows the European Parliament and the Council to hold the Commission and its agencies politically accountable for the implementation of the EU budget. It is also thanks to these procedures that MEPs enact their responsibilities as elected officials.

The European Union project hinges on the fundamental rights of dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity. We believe that these values cannot stay on paper but must shape its policies and actions.

In light of this we ask our colleagues in the European Parliament to vote against Frontex budget discharge. This is the only plausible position for anyone who believes in human rights and dignity.

This vote comes after a particularly turbulent year for Frontex: the agency's work has been questioned by the EU Ombudsman and OLAF decided to open investigations into the work of the agency while the European Parliament established a Scrutiny Working Group to further investigate the operations of Frontex.

In April these allegations led the MEPs to postpone the discharge of the agency.

Where are we after six months?

In June the EU Ombudsman finalised its inquiry into the agency and identified "various potential shortcomings and delays in implementing its new obligation concerning the complaints mechanism and the deployment of Fundamental Rights Officers".

One month later, the European Parliament's Frontex Scrutiny Working Group released its report providing evidence of violations taking place at the EU's external borders, acknowledging that Frontex was aware of them and failed to act.

The agency did not prevent these infringements, nor did it reduce the risk of future fundamental rights violations. The OLAF investigation is still open.

After six months, the only certainty we have is Frontex's responsibility in the loss of lives at Europe's borders. By granting the discharge, the European Parliament will be complicit with Frontex's actions.

As a parliament accountable to European citizens, it could and should not allow that.

Author bio

Claire Daly, Cornelia Ernst and Sira Rego are MEPs with The Left.

Disclaimer

This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

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