Today’s disappointing vote in the European Parliament to sign off on the 2021 budget of Frontex – the EU’s most expensive agency – means MEPs have just agreed that taxpayers’ money can be used to finance violence and death.

The Left has been calling for years for the agency to be held accountable for how it has dealt with migration.

Today’s vote totally disregards the mounting evidence showing the agency’s involvement and covering up of illegal pushbacks, as well as  misconduct and mismanagement. All these have been repeatedly revealed by the media and NGOs. Furthermore, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) report from last year acknowledged all of these irregularities. The OLAF investigation covers the exact period for which Frontex’s budget discharge was voted – 2021 – and today’s vote proves once again how the EU is turning a blind eye to human rights violations when it comes to migration. 

Left MEP Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany) commented on the vote: “Those who voted today to sign off on Frontex’s budget have made themselves complicit in serious human rights violations and cover up the agency’s responsibility. Frontex has been out of control for years. The agency is involved in human rights violations, particularly pushbacks at the EU’s external borders and does not comply with its own regulations. The transition at the top of the agency did not change that.”

Left MEP José Gusmão (Bloco de Esquerda, Portugal) added: “After investigations by the European Anti-Fraud Office, and NGOs exposed Frontex’s systemic mismanagement and horrific practices at EU borders, the European Parliament still decided to grant Frontex its discharge of 2021. This is not a sign of Frontex’s sudden good behaviour. It is a sign that its brutality is being excused and normalised. The European Parliament cannot convey the message that an agency that violates human rights and that lies to MEPs deserves more and more investment.”

In a historic vote last year, the European Parliament rejected, for the first time, to grant the discharge for Frontex’s 2020 budget.  

The discharge procedure has become an essential tool for the European Parliament to check how public funds have been spent and EU projects carried out, with Parliament holding the exclusive right to approve the budget implementation of EU institutions.


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