July 25, 2021

EU Court of Auditors criticizes the role, efficiency and management of Frontex

An essential pawn in the draft “global pact” for migration tabled by the European Commission in 2020 as well as for its recent plans for reforming the Schengen area, is the Frontex agency currently capable of carrying out its missions? control of the Union’s external borders and the fight against illegal migration and crime? The answer is no and, this time, it does not come from NGOs or the media but from one of the most important institutions of the Union, namely the European Court of Auditors.

Based in Luxembourg, this body is responsible for monitoring organizations that manage EU funds and publishes recommendations to improve their functioning. The report, published Monday, June 7, that it devotes to the activity of the Border and Coast Guard Agency will not go unnoticed. The Court considers, in fact, that Frontex does not support ” not always “ Member States in their management of external borders, which “Particularly worrying”, given that this Warsaw-based agency will see its means, budget and tasks swell considerably over the next few years.

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As for the fight against cross-border crime, another key mission of Frontex, it occupies too limited a place in its activities, notes the report. In this regard, there is a lack of data on its performance and the cost of its agents. Decision-makers are therefore not properly informed. The Court of Auditors notes that no impact assessment preceded the decision to make the agency the first armed body of the Union. The last external review of its operation dates back to 2015.

An action “not effective enough”

It was then in 2016 and 2019 that its skills were gradually broadened and that it moved from a role of support and coordination to member countries to a truly operational role. For this, the organization led by Frenchman Fabrice Leggeri will have, by 2027, a contingent of 10,000 agents and an annual budget of some 900 million euros.

However, already today, its action is “Not efficient enough”, note the Court’s auditors: Frontex did not fully fulfill its mandate of 2016 and that of 2019 present “Several risks”. In particular because the agency has not adapted its organization and accumulates too many gaps in the use of human resources, risk analysis or communication between its different units.

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