EU border protection agency scandal on Frontex: Europe’s borders are a legal void

EU border protection agency scandal on Frontex: Europe's borders are a legal void

There are clearly two ways to read the EU Parliament’s latest report on Frontex, Europe’s border protection agency. Either that or almost all experts, journalists, lawyers and anyone knows anything about what’s happening in the Aegean.

Then one has to come to the conclusion that Frontex boss Fabrice Leggeri has grossly neglected his official duties. European lawmakers note that Frontex officials were aware of the illegal repatriation of refugees from Greece to Turkey, the so-called pushback, but did nothing about it and, worse, that Legeri destroyed the objectionable material.

Frontex is an ally in human rights abuses

Or you can interpret the report like Legeri himself. His agency tweeted last Thursday: “Frontex welcomes the review group’s report and its findings, which confirm that there is no evidence that the agency is involved in human rights abuses.”

If proof was still needed as to how far the officials at Frontex headquarters in Warsaw have strayed from reality, how much they turn a blind eye to the mismanagement and irresponsibility that prevails there, it was the agency itself that provided its response. for the report of the European Parliament.

Yes, it is true that lawmakers say there is no evidence of any direct involvement by Frontex officials in the pushback in the Aegean. Nobody said that either. The allegations against Frontex always involved collusion, which has now been established by the European Parliament as well. A diversionary maneuver like those of a legion is usually more familiar with authoritarian regimes.

Pushback is an abstract term for a process that is clearly illegal and is almost always violent under European law. Greek border guards usually stop refugee boats, destroy engines and dump people, often women and children, on rafts at sea. By doing so, you repeatedly and deliberately endanger the lives of security seekers. Frontex has long claimed it knew nothing about it, but the agency has been working in this area for years.

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foreclosure at all costs

Last year, SPIEGEL and international partners proved this was not true, that Frontex officials were around in at least seven cases during the pushback, but did nothing. And that Frontex also filed some legal violations off the air, and that Frontex boss Legeri deliberately deceived the public. The research was the reason for convening a review group by the European Parliament, which has now reached the same conclusion.

It is therefore officially recorded that Frontex hides human rights violations on the borders of Europe, it covers crimes committed by national security forces. But instead of showing remorse and reforming its own human rights watchdog, as experts have been calling for years, Legeri is pushing to do everything right. He is demonstrating that he is unbearable as Frontex boss, that renewal of agency is not possible with him.

Worse yet, politically responsible people are unwilling to draw any conclusions from the Frontex scandal. The Frontex Board of Directors, which is responsible for summoning or dismissing the head of the authority, is largely made up of representatives from EU member states. You seem to be very happy about a head of authorities that doesn’t take the law to stop refugees very seriously. Interior ministers like Horst Seehofer also tolerate permanent violations of the law.

There is a political consensus in Europe that refugees should be kept away by all means. Frontex is ready to override its own norms and values ​​if necessary, as the response to the scandal shows.

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