The Meijers Committee has asked the European Parliament to amend the Commission proposal for a Regulation establishing rules for border surveillance in the context of joint operations at sea coordinated by the EU Borders Agency Frontex.

The Meijers Committee criticises the fact that the Commission proposal does not properly incorporate certain fundamental human rights guarantees that protect migrants from summary returns. The European Court of Human Rights’ Hirsi Jamaa and Others v Italy judgement requires, among others, the presence of legal advisers and interpreters and access to a remedy with suspensive effect.

It also argues that the proposal goes beyond the scope of the Schengen Borders code by allowing highly intrusive coercive measures during border surveillance, such as apprehension of persons on board a vessel, ordering a boat to change its course, and conducting people to third countries on the basis of the vague notion of suspicion of circumventing border checks or being engaged in migrant smuggling.

The proposal also fails to clarify the rules for non-Frontex operations. 

The Meijers Committee, however, welcomed that Commission proposal introduces a number of substantive and procedural guarantees to ensure that disembarkation of intercepted or rescued persons complies with relevant human rights provisions. Furthermore, the proposal introduces restrictions on the possibility of disembarking intercepted migrants in a third country to cases where interceptions take place on the high seas.

The proposal, presented last April, aims to replace Council Decision 2010/252/EU, which was annulled by the Court of Justice of the European Union.



This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 31 May 2013
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