MEPs ask for part of Frontex budget to be frozen over lack of rights monitoring system

Frontex suffering from unresolved issues in operations in fighting illegal immigration and cross-border crime

The European Parliament’s Budget Control Committee yesterday asked for part of the 2022 budget for the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency to be frozen.

MEPs on the committee still recommended granting so-called discharge to Frontex on its 2019 budget, which has yet to be approved by the full House.

The MEPs said Frontex had taken steps to remedy the shortcomings identified in a  first EP discharge report in spring this year, but highlighted outstanding issues. 

The MEPs said there were unresolved issues in recruitment and financial management, as well as in its operations in fighting illegal immigration and cross-border crime, and asked for further improvements.

In April 2021, Parliament postponed the discharge decision for Frontex, asking for correction measures as to how the agency exercises its operations and manages its finances, recruitment and procurement procedures.

The CONT committee MEPs have now asked for part of the Frontex 2022 budget to be frozen, to make it available only once the agency has fulfilled a number of specific conditions.

These include recruiting 20 missing fundamental rights monitors and three deputy executive directors who are sufficiently qualified to fill these positions, setting up a mechanism for reporting serious incidents on the EU’s external borders and a functioning fundamental rights monitoring system.

The MEPs also recommended that discharge for the year 2019 should not be granted to the European Council and Council. In their remarks, MEPs regret that the Council “continues to be silent” and does not cooperate with the Parliament by providing the necessary information as requested.

The Parliament has been issuing negative decisions regarding Council’s discharge for each consecutive year since 2009.

The Budgets Committee will vote on Tuesday on its position on the 2022 EU budget. One of the compromise amendments sets the amount of next year’s Frontex budget to be put in reserve at €90,000,000, which constitutes around 12% of Frontex’s proposed draft budget for 2022 (€757,793,708).

It will be voted on by the full House in October before the negotiations with the Council, with the aim of reaching an agreement on next year’s EU budget by 15 November. The decision on whether to grant discharge to Frontex may also be put to the vote during the same plenary session.

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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