GUE/NGL MEP slams proposed replacement for Frontex as akin to deportation agency

GUE/NGL MEP Marina Albiol has strongly criticised plans by the European Commission to empower Frontex’s remit in order to create a new European Border and Coast Guard agency as a setback for human rights.

The proposed agency will see an increased budget plus a reserve pool of 1500 border guards who can be deployed in rapid border interventions at short notice.

Currently, Frontex helps border authorities from different EU countries work together in securing the Union's external frontiers.

Such plans have come about as the EU continues to grapple with the influx of migrants and refugees coming across the Mediterranean and from Turkey.

Critics have argued that the European Commission is exploiting the situation as an excuse to bolster Frontex in order to create a proper borders agency.

The Commission, however, has fended off such accusations by describing the situation as an ‘emergency’ to save Schengen, amidst talks of having an agreement in place by late June.

Commenting on the plans, Ms Albiol has described Frontex’s new guise as “nothing but a Deportation Agency to return migrants and asylum seekers.”

“What we need is an agency focused on search and rescue and on the fulfilment of international obligations at our borders.”

“But the EC’s position is to view migration as a malign problem and implements aggressive policies against people fleeing prosecution, exploitation, hunger or war.”

“The new European Border and Coast Guard is a consequence of this, and it will be an unaccountable agency with its only purpose to keep people out of Fortress Europe, ignoring international legislation,” she added.

Furthermore, Albiol said the issue over human rights is also at stake, and is concerned that migrants and refugees would merely attempt even more dangerous crossings or with people smugglers elsewhere,

“It will accelerate returns to places where people’s lives are in danger and it legalises the complete externalisation of our borders.”

“The consequence of this policy is that more people will risk their lives at sea, choosing more and more difficult and risky routes to reach Europe.”

“Instead of creating safe and legal routes for people to reach a safe place, the Commission has clearly decided that mafias would be the only alternative for these refugees,” Albiol concluded.