The conclusion of Parliament’s investigation is that there is no doubt that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency is needed more than ever before in the European Union for the protection of its external borders. Over the last four months, we have found no proof of the Agency’s involvement in any violation of human rights. On the contrary, it became evident that FRONTEX is operating under highly complex and challenging circumstances when it comes to fulfilling its tasks”, said Lena Düpont, the EPP Group MEP responsible for the issue.
Her comments come ahead of today’s presentation of the final report by the European Parliament’s FRONTEX Scrutiny Working Group. Over the past four months, the scrutiny working group, set up at the request of the EPP Group, has intensively investigated the functioning of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and alleged violations of fundamental rights. Hearings were held involving the Executive Director and Fundamental Rights Officer of the Agency, the European Commission and the European Ombudsman, non-governmental organisations, national border guards and experts in European and international law.
“There is room for improvement in the internal management of the Agency, and certain shortcomings were found. However, the allegations of violations of fundamental rights by the agency in the media are unsubstantiated”, Düpont continued. “Assumptions and politically-motivated allegations were not strong enough.”
FRONTEX is facing great challenges due to the considerable expansion of its tasks and powers following its recently revised mandate. Processes, procedures and the internal reporting system have been put to the test and necessary corrections have already been made. “However, our recommendations for clearer responsibilities and effective and transparent management must now be swiftly implemented by the European Border and Coast Guard. Clearer guidance from the European Commission is needed here and now”, underlined Düpont.
“We do not need politically-motivated hostility aimed at weakening FRONTEX and border protection. Our task as a parliamentary scrutiny body is also to ensure that the protection of the external borders remains as robust and efficient as possible, with respect for fundamental rights. We put the decision-making processes, the administrative structures to test. Our working group will continue to ensure adequate parliamentary scrutiny of FRONTEX”, Düpont concluded.