Status: 04/29/2022 2:01 PM
According to media reports, the head of the European border protection agency Frontex is ready to resign. Leggeri has been criticized for the potential for illegal pushback by those seeking protection in the Mediterranean.
The head of the European border protection agency Frontex, Fabrice Leggerie, has submitted his resignation. A spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior confirmed this in Berlin. The agency’s board of directors now wants to deal with the issue.
The Federal Government welcomes the withdrawal offered. This provides the opportunity for a fresh start at Frontex, to fully clarify the allegations and to ensure that all agency operations are conducted in full compliance with European law, the spokesperson said. This is the clear expectation of the federal government. Germany has a seat on the Frontex Board of Directors.
Spiegel had previously reported that Leggeri had contacted the chairman of the board of directors for his resignation. In the letter he asked to accept his resignation and thanked him for the “invaluable experience” he had at Frontex. At first there was no official comment.
Reports of illegal push-backs
Frenchman Legere has been under pressure regarding reports of human rights abuses by Frontex at the EU’s external borders. The media had reported on illegal pushbacks of people seeking protection in the Aegean, in which Frontex was said to be involved. According to this, power executives are said to have deliberately covered up the fact that Greek border guards were returning refugees to the open Mediterranean.
According to Spiegel newspaper, Leggeri “has been trying to cover up the pushbacks for months”. So far, he has not admitted any violations of the law. Refusal of people seeking protection at external borders is illegal under international law.
Sea Watch: Resignation delayed
German aid organization Sea-Watch, which works to rescue boat passengers in the Mediterranean, described Leggeri’s resignation as “late but not enough”. The Border Protection Agency “systematically violates human rights” and is the “symbol of Europe’s deadly isolation”. So it must be cancelled.
MEP Cornelia Ernst of the Left Party welcomed the resignation. In Brussels, it said Leggeri “actively participated in the complicity of Frontex in the violation and cover-up of fundamental rights.” Ernst is a member of an investigative committee that has been pressing for clarification for a long time.
The EU Commission defends Frontex
European Union Commission spokesmen in Brussels rejected calls to dissolve Frontex. The agency plays a central role by supporting member states in protecting external borders and “at the same time upholding fundamental rights”. For this, Frontex must be stable and working well.
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