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Parliamentary questions
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9 March 2020
Priority question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Bettina Vollath
 Subject: Operation Poseidon

On 6 March 2020, Danish (1)  and international media (e.g. POLITICO (2) ) reported that the crew of Danish patrol vessel refused an order from Operation Poseidon’s headquarters to tow migrant vessels out of Greek waters. The crew refused the order because they feared that this action would endanger the lives of the migrants on that vessel. The Danish boat was patrolling the Aegean sea between Turkey and the Greek islands as part of Operation Poseidon, the border surveillance mission in support of Greece, coordinated by Frontex. The Danish patrol vessel rescued the 33 migrants headed for Greece.

1. What does the Commission know about this case and what is its assessment of the details?

2. To the Commission’s knowledge, have there been other reported cases where crew members have refused a ‘European’ order from Frontex because they feared that the lives of migrants could be put at risk, and if so, how will the Commission and Frontex investigate these cases?

3. Under international and EU law, the so-called ‘pushback’ of migrants is illegal. How does the Commission ensure that every operational order related to Frontex or Frontex-supported activities is in full compliance with the Geneva Convention on refugees and other international human rights obligations?

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