The European Union border agency Frontex is incapable of fully carrying out its assigned mission to protect the bloc’s borders, according to the European Court of Auditors.
The report suggests that Frontex has been given too many responsibilities and not enough resources to carry them out efficiently, despite being on course to be one of the largest and most well-funded agencies in the European Union with an annual budget of €900 million.
“Frontex is presently not discharging their duty effectively, and we found that this is even more worrying at a time when Frontex is being given added responsibility,” lead auditor Leo Brincat said this week, Greek newspaper I Kathimerini reports.
Frontex, which started with just 45 officers in 2005, is set to grow to at least 10,000 by 2027 and was originally charged with helping to reduce border crimes such as smuggling and help countries manage flows of illegal migrants. As part of its expansion of competencies, earlier this year Frontex boasted of becoming the European Union’s first “uniformed service”, and showed off the new ink-blue military-style fatigues of their officers.
MEPs Tell Frontex Head To Quit Claiming Agency Illegally Stopped Migrants https://t.co/XEwFejIYfJ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 3, 2020
According to Mr Brincat, “Frontex was biting (off) more than it could chew,” and he added, “They went through too many changes too fast, and now I think they are paying the price for this.”
“They have increased their mandate without really analyzing their performance or the impact of their work,” and added that some EU members were concerned that their border guards would transfer to Frontex, leaving them short-staffed.
“Member states feel that not only are they not being given sufficient backup by Frontex, but that Frontex is draining their resources,” Brincat said.
In recent months, Frontex has been criticised over allegations of so-called “pushbacks” of migrants in Greece, leading to calls from European Parliament members for Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri to resign from his position.
The MEPs’ call came after a report from media and NGOs that stated the agency had pushed back migrants in the Aegean Sea. The result of an inquiry into pushbacks released in March was inconclusive, however.
Last month, Frontex claimed that its agents had been involved in several aggressive incidents with the Turkish coastguard in the Aegean Sea and accused Turkish authorities of performing dangerous manoeuvres including turning their navigation lights off and entering a collision course with a Frontex vessel.
EU Border Agency to Discuss Clashes with Turkish Paramilitary Coastguard https://t.co/M2FuSyLYDy
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 9, 2021