EU: Frontex unveil Border and Coast Guard Agency unifrom
Frontex, the European Union border and coast guard agency, is under investigation by OLAF over allegations of harassment, misconduct and migrant pushbacks. The EU’s anti-fraud watchdog has been interviewing Frontex agents since the beginning of the year over allegations the border agency is stopping migrants from reaching EU shores.
EU Home Affairs and Immigration Commissioner Ylva Johansson called on Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri to resign.
But French MEP Nicolas Bay has hit out at Brussels accusing the bloc of trying to “take over” the border and coast guard agency.
Writing for l’Opinion on Thursday, the National Rally MEP accused EU officials of wanting to “control” the bloc’s borders instead of allowing sovereign member states to protect them.
He wrote: “The European Union does not want to ‘guard’ our borders.
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“It wants to control them instead of letting nations themselves do it, to then distribute the migrants to the French Cantal or the Hungarian Puszta.
“For this, the EU would like to prohibit the expulsion of migrants.
“Brussels has decided: the right of migrants takes precedence over the right of European peoples to decide who enters their home.
“And even worse: for federalists, the right of Europeans to maintain their identity and their civilisation does not exist.”
Mr Bay said Brussels was trying to “take over the agency” and transform it into a “humanitarian agency securing the arrival of migrants on European soil”.
He continued: “Brussels is trying to take over the agency.
“Through the questioning of its director, under the pretext of repressing illegal immigrants, the European Commission wants to normalise, according to the term used in the past in the USSR, an agency suspected of wanting to do its job too well.
“In doing so, once again, the Commission itself refutes its own words in favour of transfers of sovereignty.
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“No, it is not about coming together to build strength.
“The Commission does not want border guards, but gatekeepers, officials responsible for regulating human trafficking towards our continent.
“It is, therefore, no longer even a sieve Europe, as some claim, but a sponge Europe, gradually absorbing the enormous surplus of foreign demographics.
“Basically, it is not only the Europe of nations that the European Commission refuses.
“For the Commission, Europe must be an open space, a gap, the receptacle of financial, commercial and human flows, a technocratic structure imposed on the peoples.
“This Frontex episode is the latest reminder.”
OLAF and Frontex both confirmed an investigation was taking place but did not provide details.
The anti-fraud agency’s press office said in an email: “OLAF can confirm that it has opened an investigation concerning FRONTEX.”
Adding: “The fact that OLAF is conducting an investigation does not mean that the persons/entities involved have committed an irregularity/fraud.”
In a statement, Frontex said that it “is cooperating fully with OLAF,” adding that “OLAF visits to EU agencies, institutions and entities are a normal practice of good governance” and that “it’s important to note that such visits do not necessarily imply any malpractice. They may also be triggered by the management of European bodies themselves.”
In October, several media outlets, including Germany’s Der Spiegel, published reports alleging Frontex involvement in pushback operations at the Greek-Turkish maritime border, claiming that refugees and migrants were being forced out of EU waters.
Such pushbacks violate international law and OLAF is investigating whether internal Frontex procedures have been violated, according to one of the officials.
The allegations led Commissioner Johansson to call for an urgent, extraordinary Frontex Management Board meeting and the EU Ombudsman to open an inquiry.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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