Frontex director’s long-awaited resignation is a chance to rethink the agency’s role

In light of mounting evidence of EU border agency involvement in hundreds of refugee pushbacks, the resignation of Frontex’s executive director Fabrice Legeri was a must. The left in the European Parliament has been demanding it for years and continues to call for a radical overhaul of EU migration policy.

Alongside investigative journalists, survivors of violence, lawyers and activists, the left has played a key role in exposing Frontex’s complicity in human rights abuses and Leggeri’s role in covering them up .

During the work of Parliament’s Frontex review working group, MEPs received increasing evidence of Frontex’s involvement in pushbacks at the EU’s external borders. This included video footage showing pushbacks by Greek authorities, witnessed in real time by Frontex officers who did nothing. In the Panel’s final report in July 2021, Leggeri was criticized for his repeated failure to address fundamental rights violations and his refusal to “follow up on numerous expressions of concerns, recommendations, opinions or observations submitted over the four years”. .

With Frontex’s budget discharge on the agenda for next week’s European Parliament plenary session, Leggeri’s resignation confirms the need for MEPs to have immediate access to a 200-page report from the EU watchdog on Frontex and to postpone the vote of discharge. The left is also asking for a debate on the agenda on the question of the resignation in the light of the OLAF investigation.

“Leggeri personally played an active role in Frontex’s complicity in fundamental rights violations and the cover-up of this complicity consisted of lying to Parliament more than once. We have been calling for his resignation for years. It was late. Leggeri’s actions once again reveal the serious structural problems of the European border agency, which must be solved. Frontex’s involvement in human rights abuses 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. commented the leftist MEP Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany).

Sira Rego (Izquierda Unida, Spain) welcomed today’s development: “Leggeri’s resignation is excellent news. All the reasons for this decision must be clarified immediately. The Commission must assume its responsibility towards Leggeri and this agency. The problem with Frontex is not only Fabrice Leggeri, the problem with Frontex is structural. This is why this resignation is not enough and we need a complete change in EU migration policy.

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