Scrutiny Working Group Report on Fundamental Rights Violations by Frontex
On 14 July 2021, the Frontex Scrutiny Working Group (FSWG) of the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee published its report on the fact-finding investigation into Frontex’s alleged fundamental rights violations (→ eucrim news of 1 April 2021). In general, the report concludes that there is no conclusive evidence supporting allegations of direct pushbacks and/or collective expulsions by Frontex in the serious incident cases that were examined by the FSWG. Nevertheless, the FSWG accuses Frontex of failing to promptly and effectively address and follow up allegations of violations and therefore not contributing to the prevention of violations or reducing the risk of future fundamental rights violations.
Furthermore, the FSWG criticises following:
- The delay in the recruitment of fundamental rights monitors;
- The lack of cooperation on the part of the executive director in ensuring compliance with several provisions of the Frontex Regulation;
- The passive role of the management board in acknowledging the serious risk of fundamental rights violations and its lack of action to ensure that Frontex fulfils its fundamental rights obligations as enshrined in the Frontex Regulation.
Ultimately, the FSWG highlights the responsibility of the Member States and the European Commission to step up their efforts to ensure that the agency’s border surveillance efforts go hand in hand with adequately preventing and combating fundamental rights violations.
The second part of the report takes a detailed look at the agency’s fundamental rights compliance and sets out concrete conclusions and recommendations on implementation of the Frontex Regulation. It looks at the division of responsibilities between the agency and Member States and analyses the roles of border guards and coastguards, the Fundamental Rights Officer, the Consultative Forum, the executive director, and the management board ‒ all in relation to allegations of fundamental rights violations.
Recommendations are made in the following areas:
- Frontex governance and accountability to the European Parliament, the Council, and the European Commission;
- Oversight of the body;
- Reporting procedures;
- Procedures for handling complaints.
The report was welcomed by Frontex, which acknowledged the report’s conclusion and its recommendations.