Long-overdue Frontex Director’s resignation a chance to rethink agency’s role
Left seeks plenary point on Leggeri departure next week
In light of mounting evidence on the EU border agency’s involvement in hundreds of refugee pushbacks, the resignation of Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri was a must. The Left in the European Parliament has been demanding this for years and continues to call for a radical rethink of the EU’s migration policy.
The Left alongside investigative journalists, survivors of violence, lawyers and activists has played a key role in exposing Frontex’s complicity in fundamental rights violations and the role Leggeri had in covering them up.
During the work of Parliament’s Frontex Scrutiny Working Group, MEPs received mounting evidence of Frontex involvement in pushbacks at the EU’s external borders. This included video footage that showed pushbacks by Greek authorities, witnessed in real-time by Frontex officers who did nothing. In the Group’s final report in July 2021, Leggeri was criticised for his repeated failure to respond to fundamental rights violations and a refusal to “follow up on the many expressions of concerns, recommendations, opinions or observations submitted over the course of four years.”
With Frontex’s budget discharge on the agenda for next week’s European Parliament plenary, Leggeri’s resignation confirms the need for MEPs to have immediate access to a 200-page report by EU watchdog body OLAF into Frontex and for the discharge vote to be postponed. The Left is also requesting a debate to be added to the agenda on the issue of the resignation in light of OLAF’s inquiry.
Commenting on the resignation, Left MEP Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany) said: “Leggeri personally had an active role in Frontex’s complicity in fundamental rights violations and the cover-up of this complicity included lying to the Parliament more than once. We have been calling for his resignation for years. It was overdue. Leggeri’s actions reveal once again the serious structural problems with the EU border agency, which need to be tackled. Frontex involvement in human rights violations will not stop just because Leggeri is gone. Now is the time to go further. Frontex must immediately suspend its operations in Greece in accordance with Article 46 of the Frontex Regulation.”
Sira Rego (Izquierda Unida, Spain) welcomed today’s development: “Leggeri’s resignation is great news. All the reasons behind this decision must be clarified immediately. The Commission must assume its responsibility towards Leggeri and this agency. The problem with Frontex is not just Fabrice Leggeri, the problem with Frontex is a structural one. That is why this resignation is not enough and we need a complete change in the EU’s migration policy.”