EU border agency boss quits over alleged mismanagement

PARIS: Fabrice Leggeri(pix), a figurehead for impenetrable European frontiers who was regularly accused of tolerating unlawful “pushbacks” of migrants, provided his resignation Friday as head of the Frontex border company.

Frontex’s board would weigh Leggeri’s provide to step down the identical day, a French supply instructed AFP, “following an investigation into his management of the agency by Olaf”, the European Anti-Fraud Office.

“I can confirm that he has offered his resignation,“ which “opens the possibility of a new start” for Frontex, a German authorities spokesman stated at a daily press convention in Berlin.

Olaf’s confidential report into Leggeri discovered he “did not follow procedures, was dishonest with the EU and managed staff badly,“ French magazine Le Point reported.

Frontex has repeatedly been accused by aid groups of illegally returning migrants across EU borders — or of turning a blind eye when national authorities themselves carried out such “pushbacks”.

Greece’s land and sea borders with Turkey have been a serious focus of such allegations.

On Wednesday, an investigation by French each day Le Monde and investigative outfit Lighthouse Reports discovered that Frontex recorded pushbacks in Greek waters between March 2020 and September 2021 as “operations to prevent departures (towards Europe), carried out in Turkish waters”.

– ‘Mandate silently modified’ –

Lighthouse Reports and German journal Der Spiegel revealed Leggeri’s letter of resignation on Twitter.

In it, he writes that “I give my mandate back to the Management Board as it seems that Frontex mandate on which I have been elected and renewed in June 2019 has silently but effectively been changed”.

In current months, Leggeri has publicly acknowledged confusion over whether or not his function was to hinder migrants’ entry to Europe or to supervise nationwide border companies’ therapy of asylum seekers.

He stated in December that he was “helpless” to work out his true mission.

“Between the imperative not to allow people to cross irregularly and the other, the principle of non-refoulement (which forbids pushbacks) as everyone in need of protection has the right to asylum, how should we act?” he stated.

“No one can give me the answer. We’re schizophrenic”.

Marked by repeated political scares over migrant arrivals in Europe, Leggeri’s seven years as Frontex chief have coincided with a serious improve in assets for the company.

It is ready to develop to 10,000 workers watching the EU’s exterior borders by 2027.

But the company additionally reported final week that irregular crossings into the EU had been the best in six years in January-March this yr, with 40,300 entries.

The largest numbers of irregular crossings had been detected coming from the Western Balkans, principally getting into the EU through Greece and Bulgaria.

They accounted for round half of all irregular entries, with the principle migrant nationalities being Syrian and Afghan.

Most migrants irregularly getting into the EU alongside its jap and southern flanks aimed to maneuver on to different EU nations, or to former EU member Britain.-AFP

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