Glock will provide firearms to Frontex border police force

12 November 2021 – At the end of October Frontex awarded contracts for the provision of firearms and ammunition for its new Standing Border Guard Corps. Austrian arms producer Glock will receive €3.76 million to supply 2,500 9×19 mm semi-automatic pistols (including accessories and training) over the course of four years. Over 3.6 million rounds of ammunition will be provided by Polish companies Mildat and Parasnake Arkadiusz Szewczyk, which will earn €1.24 million in total.
With these contracts Frontex takes another step in building up its own border police force, the first armed EU police force in the history of the Union. While the process of recruiting and training 10,000 officers for the corps by 2027 is ongoing, the first batches of officers have already been deployed to support border security and control operations in Italy, Greece, Spain, the Western Balkans, Lithuania and Latvia. The buildup of the border police force is part of the overall expansion of Frontex into an uncontrollable monster. As such it plays a leading part in the militarisation of Europe’s borders. The agency routinely participates in pushbacks, violence and other human rights violations at the EU’s external borders. 

The legal basis for arming the corps is still very shaky. Last year, as Statewatch wrote, legal analysis by “external experts and a regulatory law firm” concluded that the 2019 Frontex Regulation does not provide a legal basis for acquiring, registering, storing or transporting weapons in Poland. However, since then Frontex has managed to reach an agreement with Poland, where the arms will be delivered to its headquarters in Warsaw. The actual use of the pistols, clearly foreseen with the amount of ammunition purchased, is legal per the Frontex Regulation 2019, according to European Commissioner Johansson‘s answers to parliamentary questions. In January the Frontex Management Board, comprised of representatives of Member States’ border authorities, adopted ‘Specific rules to facilitate the storage of weapons’. Next to possible storage in EU member states the rules also open up the possibility of storage in non-EU-countries, in line with the start of Frontex operations in third countries. Meanwhile responsibilities and accountability for the use of firearms remain vague, with Frontex pushing for as much immunities as possible for its officers.
The selection of Glock to provide pistols is not surprising. In preparation of the tender process, the company was one of the six invited to the Frontex ‘Industry Dialogue – Procurement of handguns, ammunition and holstersin December 2019. At the meeting Glock presented several of its arms for possible use by the Standing Border Guard Corps. As research by Frag den Staat and others unveiled, during the meeting “[i]ndustry representatives were also openly consulted and invited to give their input on a procurement procedure”, giving them “an opportunity to influence the content of the procurement itself.” A highly problematic move, signalling the increasing close relations between Frontex and the European military and security industry.
Glock firearms are used by militaries and security and police forces all over the world. This includes highly controversial users such as border forces in the United States, Finland, Australia, Poland and Latvia, police forces in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, the armies of Israel, Myanmar and Yemen and special forces in India, Pakistan and Turkey. 
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