Fabrice Leggeri, director of the European border security agency Frontex, has resigned. The organization is accused of illegally returning migrants if they try to cross the external borders of the European Union.
Leggeri has led Frontex since 2015 and has come under fire for years. MEPs and aid organizations have criticized media reports of illegal pushbacks, in which migrants are forcibly returned to the border. This is against EU migration rules.
Frontex has always denied all allegations in this regard. An earlier investigation by the European Parliament found no hard evidence of involvement in the unlawful pushbacks.
The reason for Leggeris’ departure is an investigation by the European fraud service OLAF, in particular on the return of migrants to the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. OLAF’s report is not yet public, so its exact content is not yet known.
Leggeri resigned yesterday and the board accepted today. He thus escapes a disciplinary file which weighed on his head. OLAF’s investigation also focused on misconduct against staff and financial abuse.
Abuse images shown
At the end of 2020, MEPs were already demanding the departure of the leader of Frontex. Reports of illegal pushbacks piled up. Staff are said to have repeatedly looked away or even been involved in the return of asylum seekers at sea between Greece and Turkey.
Investigative journalists from Dutch Pointer and Lighthouse Reports, among others, showed footage of pushbacks in Croatia late last year. The refugees were driven back to Bosnia and Herzegovina by masked police.
Migrants are also sent back to the Polish border:
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