Respect of fundamental rights in Frontex operations: MEPs demand guarantees 

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MEPs sought on Tuesday clarification over the alleged involvement of Frontex staff in pushbacks of asylum-seekers by the Greek border guard and demanded respect to fundamental rights.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri assured the Civil Liberties committee there is no evidence of Frontex participation in any of the incidents recently revealed by media in which Greek coast guards allegedly stopped migrants’ vessels and sent them back to Turkish waters. Leggeri referred to the complicated geopolitical context in the Eastern Mediterranean and underlined that Frontex operatives must follow instructions from the authorities of the hosting member state, Greece in this case.

Most MEPs complained about the repetition of this type of suspicious incidents and the lack of transparency, and considered that Frontex should act differently when confronted with possible breaches of fundamental rights. The urgent need to recruit additional staff to deal with fundamental rights complaints was raised by several speakers.

Some MEPs showed their support to Leggeri, underlining the difficult task entrusted to border guards and the importance of fighting human smugglers, while others called for his resignation.

You can watch the debate again.