Frontex Reacted to OLAF Report
30 November 2022
Riehle_Cornelia_Neu_SW.jpg Cornelia Riehle LL.M.

In February 2022, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) finalised its investigation into serious misbehaviour on the part of Frontex. Among the irregularities, OLAF looked into allegations regarding illegal pushbacks at the EU's external borders in the Aegean Sea in Greece. Other irregularities concerned the exclusion of Fundamental Rights Officers from the reporting line as well as intimidation, humiliation, and harassment of staff members. The sensitive report was released by various media organisations because it was deemed to be of public interest.

In response, on 14 October 2022, Frontex published a statement following publication of the OLAF report. In this statement, Frontex executive management underlined that the alleged irregularities were practices of the past. The agency and its management board point to a number of remedial measures that have been taken to address these shortcomings since January 2021, e.g. a procedure to suspend or terminate operations in case of serious abuses, obligations to inform the Consultative Forum, and measures to strengthen the role of the Fundamental Rights Officer. Furthermore, Greek authorities, together with the agency, have established an action plan to right the wrongs of the past and present. Once OLAF has completed an investigation, it is up to the competent EU and national authorities to examine and decide on the follow-up to OLAF’s recommendations.