First Update: 22 March 2021
In response to the allegations on the role of Frontex regarding pushbacks by Member States, the European Parliament has decided to establish a permanent Scrutiny Group for Frontex. While this Scrutiny Group will cover all aspects of Frontex and its functioning, the Working Group is explicitly tasked with an inquiry on the current allegations. I have been appointed rapporteur to this inquiry.
In this written question, fourteen MEPs inquiry the Commission to give the lack of SAR operations in the Mediterranean in the proposed new Pact on Migration and Asylum.
In this letter fifty-three MEPs bring the attention of the Commission to the situation in the central Mediterranean Sea where on the 21st of April a rubber boat with about 130 people on board sank northeast of Tripoli.
In this letter thirty-three MEPs call on the Danish authorities to reconsider their asylum and migration policy which allows for the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.
Written Question submitted by MEP Tineke Strik questioning whether the Commission will react after new evidence of pushbacks at the Croatian border were found.
On 15 January 2021, the Working Group on Fundamental Rights and Legal Operational Aspects of Operations (the “Working Group”) established by the Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (“Frontex”) put forward a number of questions to the Commission.
Here the reply by the legal service of the Commission.
In October 2020, a group of media outlets published evidence about Frontex vessels involved in human rights violations in the Aegean Sea. This raised serious questions about the EU agency’s denial of knowledge of or active contribution to pushbacks. The evidence shows how Frontex witnessed the Hellenic Coast Guard conducting pushbacks but also how the EU agency’s was actively involved in these activities. The situation at the Croatian-Bosnian border, where pushbacks and violence by the Croatian authorities are reported constantly, also raises questions on the involvement of Frontex in these breaches of human rights. In theory, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2019/1896) foresees Frontex’s obligation to terminate activities in case of violations of fundamental rights, as well as several mechanisms to prevent such breaches.
The panelists were:Prof. Nora Markard, Professor for International Public Law and International Human Rights, University of Münster Matthias Oel, Director - Borders, Interoperability and Innovation, Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission Andreas I. Pottakis, Greek Ombudsman Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA, rapporteur of the new European Parliament Frontex Scrutiny Working Group
Moderation: Neda Noraie-Kia, Head of Migration Policy Europe, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Thessaloniki Office
Front-LEX and the Legal Centre Lesvos submitted this request for action on the part of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX or the Agency), pursuant to Article 265 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Front-LEX and the Legal Centre Lesvos invite the Agency to consider its position vis-à-vis its activities in the host Member State Greece and to immediately suspend or terminate all its activities in the Aegean Sea Region, in compliance with The Agency’s obligations under Article 46 (4) of European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) Regulation.
In this letter forty MEPs request full information on the status and interim results of the preparation of the legal basis for the arming of Frontex.
In this letter, eight MEPs urge the European Commission to address the issue of pushbacks in the European Union as a matter of priority and to do everything possible to prevent these incidents and take appropriate action.