Former Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri warns of worrying evolution of EU border agency

On 8 June, the former Executive Director of the EU border agency Fabrice Leggeri discussed the future of Frontex and Europe’s borders with the ECR Migration Policy Group.

At the meeting, Mr Leggeri said that the EU border agency has shifted from border security and border control to migrants’ rights.

Mr Leggeri explained that the gradual change was due to political pressure aimed at changing the agency’s core mission, to assist Member States in border control. He stressed that Frontex’s mission is increasingly being turned into a political issue and is no longer a purely legal matter. Mr Leggeri added that, in his personal opinion, existing law and regulations offer sufficient protection for migrants while allowing external borders to be controlled.

ECR Working Group Co-Chairman Jorge Buxadé expressed great concern about the intention in Brussels “to turn Frontex into a pro-migration agency.”

Mr Leggeri also shared his view on how the EU responded to the 2015-2016 migration crisis, when nearly 1.2 million illegal refugees crossed the Union borders.

In the exchange of views that followed, ECR MEPs stressed the importance of the signals the EU is sending to potential migrants.

Buxadé’s fellow Co-Chairman Kosma Złotowski emphasized that “illegal migration can also be a weapon in a hybrid war. Belarus and Russia created artificial migration pressure on the borders of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. We now know that this was a prelude to the aggression against Ukraine and an attempt to destabilise our countries.

Co-Chairman Charlie Weimers said that, “the consequences of sending the wrong messages while failing to secure the external border can be seen today in a Europe with increasing societal disintegration.

At the end of the meeting, the Co-Chairs of the Migration Policy Group concluded that, if there was one takeaway from the meeting, it was is that Europe needs secure borders and Frontex must be returned to its core task of helping Member States control their borders.

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