MEPs to grill Frontex director on agency’s role in pushbacks of asylum-seekers 

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The alleged involvement of Frontex staff in pushbacks of asylum-seekers by the Greek border guard will be the focus of a debate in the Civil Liberties Committee on Tuesday.

MEPs are set to demand answers from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri regarding the incidents revealed by media in which Greek coastguards -with the alleged knowledge and even involvement of Frontex operatives- stopped migrants trying to reach EU shores and sent them back to Turkish waters. They are likely to ask about the outcome of the internal inquiry carried out by the EU’s border agency and the board meeting called at the request of the European Commission.

Last October, ahead of media revelations, the Frontex consultative forum -which gathers, among others, representatives of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), UNHCR, the Council of Europe and IOM- voiced concerns in its annual report. The forum pointed to the absence of an effective monitoring system to prevent and address potential fundamental rights violations in the Agency’s activities.

On 6 July, in another Civil Liberties Committee meeting, Fabrice Leggeri assured MEPs that Frontex staff had not been involved in any pushbacks and described an incident with the Danish crew on board one of the agency’s vessels as “a misunderstanding”.

When: Tuesday, 1 December, from 13.50 to 14.45.

Where: European Parliament in Brussels, József Antall (4Q2), and remotely.

Check the full agenda of the committee meeting. You can follow the discussion live.