Migrant pushbacks: MEPs refuse to validate Frontex accounts

Migrant pushbacks: MEPs refuse to validate Frontex accounts

The European Parliament on Tuesday (18 October) refused to validate the accounts of the border surveillance agency Frontex for 2020, in a sign of rejection of this organization accused of concealing the refoulement of migrants in the Aegean.

After postponing their decision in May, after a close vote in Strasbourg, MEPs decided not to grant discharge to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency for 2020.

The budget discharge is a procedure with which the European Parliament closes a financial year and controls the use of public funds.

This vote has no impact on the Agency’s activities, but is a way for the European Parliament to express its opposition to Frontex’s past activities.

The agency was implicated in several journalistic investigations and a report by the European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) in 2020 for its role in the illegal repatriation of migrants by the Greek Coast Guard.

“It doesn’t change the past, but it sends a clear signal for action and change”summarized the Belgian environmentalist Philippe Lamberts and called on the European Commission “Decisive action to bring this inhuman treatment to an end once and for all” of migrants.

The agency’s controversial boss, Frenchman Fabrice Leggeri, resigned in late April after Olaf launched investigations into him and two other board members.

This confidential report, which has just been published in full but anonymously by the German magazine Der Spiegel in cooperation with investigative websites, falls under this “Serious Misconduct and Other Irregularities” the then management of Frontex.

He blames her for it “participated in or covered by repression” of migrants in Greek waters, but also bad management, with situations of conflict of interest and cases of harassment.

“These are practices of the past”Frontex reacted in a press release on Friday (14 October).

“I am aware that I am reading the report [de l’Olaf] will have shocked many of you as it shocked me, but I am convinced that the Frontex Management Board has discharged its responsibilities fully and very effectively.”assured MEPs Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson, hoping for the appointment of a new director of Frontex by the end of the year.

Frontex, whose mandate was strengthened in 2019, is the EU agency with the largest budget. It has risen steadily in recent years and will be around 360 million euros in 2020 and more than 750 million euros in 2022.

MEPs also refused to validate the Council of the EU’s accounts, as they have been doing for more than a decade, to stigmatize this institution’s lack of cooperation.

Reference: www.euractiv.fr

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