MEPs withhold discharge of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) over alleged abuse and misconduct. Opinion poll ahead of Frontex referendum in Switzerland suggests majority support for continued funding. Cooperation between Interpol and Frontex is increasing.
MEPs postponed the decision on the 2020 accounts Frontex due to the failure of the agency to fulfil the conditions set out previously by the European Parliament and the findings of a European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) report which is yet unreleased to the broad public but reportedly include harassment, misconduct and implications in human rights abuses in Greece and Hungary. Ahead of the vote in Parliament, the European Commission has called on MEPs to clear the budget suggesting that Frontex is making progress.
In the run up of the Swiss referendum on continued financial contributions to Frontex, an opinion poll published on 1 April suggests that 63% of Swiss voters are in favour of their government’s financial support to Frontex. The Swiss contribution to the EU agency is set to increase from CHF24 million ($26 million) in 2021 to CHF61 million in 2027, according to calculations by authorities.
On 24 March, Frontex reported a significant increase of “illegal” border detections at EU borders in the first two months of 2022. This explicitly excludes people arriving from Ukraine. The most significant increase concerns the Eastern Mediterranean route. As part of a visit of Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri to INTERPOL on 1 April, Electronic Document System of the Frontex-INTERPOL Library (FIELDS) was launched. According to Frontex, FIELDS provides information on travel documents and displays original documents and main forgeries detected on that type of document. It will be based at INTERPOL with Frontex providing expertise and funding. 5 March Frontex/INTERPOOL meeting
In response to the war in Ukraine, Frontex has deployed 285 officers to the region. Europol has sent eight officers to gather information on criminal activity amidst a warning from the French Presidency that criminal groups could take advantage of open borders. No deployment of the European Asylum Agency has been reported yet.
For further information:
- ECRE, Greece: Group Stranded in Evros Rescued After ECtHR Intervention, Complaint Against Frontex Lodged Before ECJ as Details of OLAF Report are Revealed, Relocation Scheme Launched as Authorities Ramp Up Support to Ukrainians, March 2022
- ECRE, Policy Paper: Holding Frontex to Account: ECRE’s Proposal for Enhancing Nonjudicial Scrutiny Mechanisms, May 2021
This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.