‘Stay in the real world!’ Brussels’ plot for ‘no borders’ EU sparks furious outburst

EU: Frontex unveil Border and Coast Guard Agency unifrom

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The director of the European Union’s border agency has quit his job, the agency said last Friday, April 30, after years of accusations that the body mistreated migrants on external EU frontiers.

Frontex’s management board convened an emergency two-day meeting last week, to discuss the accusations against Fabrice Leggeri and two other Frontex staff, saying that Mr Leggeri had tendered his resignation on Thursday, April 28.

“The management board took note of his intentions and concluded that the employment has therefore come to an end,” Frontex said in a statement.

Mr Leggeri, who in the past dismissed the accusations, was not immediately available for comment.

The EU’s anti-fraud agency OLAF launched an investigation last year into allegations of human rights violations by Frontex. OLAF’s report has not been made public.

Erik Marquardt, a German MEP in the European Parliament with the Greens’ faction, said on March 2 that the summary of the report “reveals that Frontex’s management was aware of human rights violations and deliberately avoided reporting them”.

In 2021, the European Parliament published its own report into allegations that Frontex was involved in so-called pushbacks, including in the Aegean Sea between EU member Greece and Turkey.

Pushbacks violate the EU’s obligations under international humanitarian law, which prohibits returning people to where their lives would be at risk.

“Several reliable actors… consistently reported about fundamental rights violations at the border in a number of Member States, but that Frontex generally disregarded these reports,” said the European Parliament’s report.

“The Agency also failed to adequately respond to internal observations about certain cases of probable fundamental rights violations in Member States which were raised.”

But Mr Leggeri’s departure prompted fears the EU Commission is planning to go ahead with its plot of rendering the EU a “no border” zone, according to director general of the Thomas More Institute, Jean-Thomas Lesueur.

Mr Lesueur claims the European agency is at the heart of an ideological battle, which has prevented Mr Leggeri from carrying out his mission.

Speaking to French daily Le Figaro, he said: “The vision of [EU Commissioner] Ylva Johansson and the entire European Commission is in some ways an extension of the vision of the United Nations in its famous report ‘Replacement Migration: a solution to population decline and ageing? This report was steeped in the dogma of “happy globalisation’ that prevailed at the time.

“The problem is that, 20 years later, the results are bleak, to say the least.”

Asked whether Mr Leggeri will be replaced with a “a president with a more ‘no borders’ vision”, he added: “This is probably the scenario the Commission would like to see.

“But it is to be hoped that this will not be so easy for the Commission, as many Eastern European countries have a radically different view of the issue.

“Last January, 16 countries met in Vilnius to discuss the protection of the European Union’s borders (including walls).

“This meeting, which followed the migration blackmail that Belarus had imposed on Lithuania, Poland and others, was an extension of a letter signed by twelve countries in October 2021 calling on the Commission to abandon its attitude on immigration.

“For these countries, a border is meant to be guarded and a migrant who enters their territory illegally should be turned back. This may be odious in Ylva Johansson’s world, but it is normal in the real world! In matters of immigration, as in others (on multiculturalism or the Russian danger), political common sense rises in the East.”

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Reacting to the idea, French MEP Dominique Bilde blasted: “The European Commission wants to turn Frontex into a migrant rights monitoring agency.

“In other words: instead of arresting illegals, the EU will accompany them to your doorstep!”

EU member states as well as the Commission sit on the Frontex management board. EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson has pushed to strengthen rights oversight within Frontex as human rights organisations sounded the alarm over abuse.

EU countries have given Frontex additional money and powers since more than a million Syrian refugees reached Europe in 2015, overwhelming its reception and security capacity and fuelling far-right sentiment across the bloc.

As EU countries fought bitterly over letting in the mostly-Muslim people coming from the Middle East and Africa, migration became a top political issue.

The EU has since restricted asylum and migrants’ rights, fortified its borders and sealed deals – criticised by rights groups – with countries including Turkey to keep people on their soil.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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