PES Migration and Integration Network: Frontex must embody Europe’s fundamental rights

30/03/2021

PES Migration and Integration Network meeting by videconference

PES Migration and Integration Network meeting by videconference

Frontex must change to become a true force for the just and humane management of Europe’s external border, this was the conclusion as the PES Migration and Integration Network met by videoconference today.

MEPs, representatives of member parties, trade union, NGOs and other progressives convened online to discuss Frontex, which is facing serious allegations that it has violated fundamental rights and mistreated vulnerable people at Europe’s external borders.

Meeting Chair, Swedish Social Democrat MP Carina Ohlsson, said:

“Frontex must embody Europe’s fundamental rights. It must be the driver for a just and humane approach to the management of Europe’s borders. Sadly, this is very much in question.

“Reports of rights violations and bad practices by Frontex are shocking. These must be investigated thoroughly. For too long, there has been a lack of transparency and now the credibility of the union’s biggest Agency is at stake. It is vital that Frontex is put back on the right course.

“As progressives, we stand firmly behind a just and humane approach to the management of Europe’s external borders, based on adherence to human and fundamental rights like the right to asylum. We support the work of Commission Johansson, who is working to achieve this through the new Pact.”

Members of the Network expressed serious concerns about the allegations that Frontex has pushed-back vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers at Europe’s border and violated fundamental rights. They expressed further unease about reports of deep-rooted problems within the organisation’s top-level management.

The Network’s concerns follow similar reactions from the Socialist and Democrats Group in the European Parliament and the progressive European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson.

The meeting expressed support for efforts undertaken by Commissioner Johansson to investigate and address the concerns around Frontex. Participants also welcomed the work of the S&D Group, which has been a key driver behind the push for a European Parliament investigation into Frontex.

Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar MEP, chair of the LIBE Committee, and Javier Moreno MEP, member of the European Parliament Working Group on Frontex, provided updates on their efforts to hold Frontex accountable.

The Network committed to carefully examine the Frontex Working Group recommendations on fundamental rights compliance, the agency's internal management, and its transparency and accountability towards the European Parliament, when they are published.

Catherine Woollard, Secretary General of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles also commented on the allegations against Frontex.

Network participants also exchanged on progressive policies for open and inclusive societies.

Carina Ohlsson added:

“For us socialists and social democrats, building inclusive societies where everyone is treated equally and fairly is paramount. We are all part of society, we must all have equal opportunities to participate and succeed. I am very happy that we could exchange today with the members of the PES Migration and Integration Network and civil society organisations on progressive policies to build inclusive societies where everyone can participate, and in which diversity is a source of strength and progress.”