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Socialists and Democrats refuse to clear the accounts of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex

Date

28 Sep 2021

Sections

Security

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament’s committee on budgetary control deplores the discharge granted by the right-wing groups to Frontex. The S&D Group voted to refuse discharge to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency for its 2019 expenses due to the numerous examples of general mismanagement of the agency, as well as the severe shortcomings in fulfilling Frontex’s fundamental rights obligations. These shortcomings are evidenced by the recent Court of Auditors Special Report 08/2021, as well as by the Frontex Scrutiny Working Group, created to investigate allegations of violations of human rights of migrants at the external borders of the European Union.  The S&Ds are urging the other political groups in the European Parliament to vote against the discharge during the final vote in plenary in the upcoming weeks.

S&D colleagues from the European Parliament’s committee on budget and the committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs are equally worried by the allegations. As a result of this evidence, from Frontex’s total 2022 budget which amounts to 750 million euros, 90 million euros will be withheld subject to conditionality.

Elisabetta Gualmini, Italian MEP and S&D permanent observer of budgets for the EU agencies, said:

“In times when the entire European Union counts on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to prevent the nightmare of the migratory crisis from 2015-2016 happening again, it is unthinkable to let the management of this crucial EU agency undermine the trust of Europeans with shady affairs. The Mediterranean turned into a graveyard for migrants; the world was shocked by the pictures of the migratory flow to Lampedusa and elsewhere in Italy; we all remember the columns of people fleeing war through the Balkan route to Northern and Western Europe. We cannot let this happen again and we cannot do it without Frontex. We must make sure money from the EU budget for next year will be spent properly. For this very reason we want Frontex’s budget to be subject to conditionality”.

Caterina Chinnici, Italian MEP and S&D negotiator on the issue of discharge of Frontex, said:

"What happens within Frontex raises serious concerns. Management of migration is one of the biggest challenges of our time and we should have trust in one of the main EU bodies responsible for this management. But trust is not something that can be taken for granted. Europeans put their trust in Frontex and we cannot turn a blind eye to the serious shortcomings within this EU agency. The allegations of pushbacks of migrants at the external borders of the EU also cast a worrying shadow over Frontex. Under these circumstances, we, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, had no choice but to refuse to clear the accounts of Frontex for 2019 and put serious conditionality on how the agency is spending its budget for 2022.”

 

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