Today’s vote in the European Parliament not to grant discharge for Frontex’s 2020 budget is a victory for human rights.

The Parliament and all its members who take their democratic responsibility seriously can’t be accomplices in using taxpayers’ money to finance violence and death.

The Left has been demanding that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex be held accountable for the way it has been dealing with migration for years. Investigative journalists, survivors of violence, lawyers and activists, have also played a crucial role in exposing Frontex’s complicity in fundamental rights violations.

In light of last week’s leaked OLAF report proving the border agency’s involvement in, and covering up of, illegal pushbacks and accusations of misconduct and irregularities, today’s vote was a must. Frontex’s budget has constantly increased from six million euros in 2005 to 754 million euros in 2022, making it the most heavily funded EU agency.


Left MEP Malin Björk (Vänsterpartiet, Sweden) commented on the vote:

“This is a historic moment. This is the first time Frontex has not been granted a discharge. It is a victory for all of us who stand up for human rights and EU law – and for all the people who have been victims of Frontex’s human rights abuses. With this vote, we are sending a clear message to Frontex and to the member states: your human rights abuses at the EU borders are not OK, nor is trying to cover them up. I hope this will be a turning point, a moment when Frontex really starts a systemic change in how it carries out its work at the borders and in how it deals with its internal problems.”


The discharge procedure has become an important 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. In the past, the Parliament refused to grant discharge to various EU agencies and bodies, including to the European Commission twice, in 1984 and in 1998, the latter occasion ultimately leading to the resignation of the Commission.

For 2016 and 2017, the Parliament refused to grant budget discharge for the European Asylum Support Office in Malta, leading to changes in its management and organisational structure.