Frontex chief needs to get house in order, EU commissioner warns

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EU border protection agency Frontex’s investigation into pushback allegations is not progressing quickly enough for European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

“I’m a bit concerned why this is taking so much time to clarify,” the Swedish EU official told dpa on Wednesday, saying “It’s a bit strange.’’

There are a number of deficiencies in the agency’s workings, such as in its recruitment of new employees or its internal notification procedure for potential breaches of fundamental rights, she said.

These shortcomings had to be addressed immediately, and that is the responsibility of the agency’s executive director, Fabrice Leggeri, Johansson said.

“He has to show that he has his house in order,’’ she stressed.

The agency has been in hot water after a recent investigation by several media outlets showed that Frontex had been involved in multiple pushback incidents.

Pushing migrants back to their ports of origin or into international waters is illegal under international and EU law.

Several EU bodies are investigating the allegations.

On Tuesday, a European Parliament working group began investigating possible violations of fundamental rights.

Leggeri himself sees no misconduct on the part of his agency.

An internal Frontex working group already investigated 13 cases of alleged pushbacks on behalf of the management board.

According to the January report, no Frontex misconduct was found in eight cases, though five others are to be investigated further.

The final report is due by Friday. (dpa/NAN)

Ismail Abdulaziz

Deputy Editor in Chief,
Multimedia, Solutions Journalism & Website

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