On 12 May 2017, the Frontex Consultative Forum released its annual report presenting observations and recommendations on the agency’s activities. Key sections of the report are dedicated to concerns about Hungary, upon which no action was taken by Frontex in 2016.

In October 2016, the Consultative Forum raised concerns with the Fundamental Rights Officer, Frontex and the Management Board of the agency about the situation at the Hungarian-Serbian border and the “8-km rule” in particular. The Forum warned that violations of fundamental rights and international protection obligations of a serious nature were likely to persist – warnings ignored by the agency.

Furthermore the Consultative Forum focused on the implementation of the European Border and Coast Guard regulation, the creation of a Frontex individual complaint mechanism, a European pool of forced return monitors and the potential limitations and implications of the extended mandate of Frontex in countries outside of the EU.

Part of the report is also devoted to Frontex increased activity in the area of voluntary return carried out as a consequence of the EU’s increased focus on returns. In this respect the Consultative Forum stresses the need for safeguards such as the monitoring of returns in compliance with the EU’s Return Directive. It was recently reported that return operations executed by Frontex in cooperation with Member States is well financed, with one individual case costing as much as 90,000 euro. On average Frontex spends 5,800 euro for every deported person and a total spending of more than 16 million euro in the first 4 months of 2017.

The Frontex Consultative Forum, is an independent body representing UN organizations, EU agencies and civil society organisations among them ECRE, which offers advice in all fundamental rights issues connected to the work of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex.

Photo: (cc) Rock Cohen, 2010