When replying to a series of questions and interventions by MEPs from the various political groups who are members of the key EP Committees, during a two hour joint marathon session, both the European Commission and the Executive Director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, informed the European Parliament that they have already started implementing the recommendations of the Leo Brincat report, produced by the European Court of Auditors on Frontex.
When some MEPs queried why the report was not equally critical of member states in safeguarding their external borders, Mr. Brincat said that in its request for an audit the European Parliament had asked for an audit of Frontex’s support to member states in external border management rather than an audit of member states.
Mr. Brincat said that unless Frontex addresses its shortcomings in implementing the 2016 mandate, it will be in a very critical position to try and address the challenges of the extended 2019 mandate, particularly since this had been given on the basis of a purely political decision in 2017, without any impact assessments.
When some members asked about Frontex and the readmission of irregular migrants to third countries of origin, Mr. Brincat said that this aspect will be dealt with at length in a special report for which he isreporting member that is due out in September.
Frontex not sufficiently effective – ECA
The European Court of Auditors found that the EU’s border agency Frontex had not been sufficiently effective in helping Member States and Schengen associated countries in managing the EU’s external frontiers. As well as concluding that Frontex has not fully implemented the mandate it received in 2016, the auditors also cast doubt on its capacity to effectively implement the new operational role that
has been assigned to it.
Frontex was created in 2004 to address the EU’s border concerns – terrorism, trafficking, and migrant smuggling, for example – together with national authorities. Frontex’s mandate has gradually expanded since its creation, as has its budget (from €19 million in 2006 to €460 million last year). Nevertheless, EU auditors have found that Frontex is still not satisfactorily supporting Member States in managing the EU’s external borders.
“Frontex’s tasks atthe EU’s external borders are essential for the fight against cross-border crime and illegal immigration”, said Leo Brincat, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “Nevertheless, Frontex is currently not discharging that duty effectively. Thisis especially worrying at a time when Frontex is being given added responsibilities.”
In parallel, an EP investigative committee, chaired by Vice President Roberta Metsola, is currently looking into the allegations of mismanagement by Frontex. “I hope the process will lead to a series of recommendations that will give clarity and confidence to people looking at the EU’s role in external border management”, Metsola had said.