[Blog from FragDenStaat] In April, the EU Parliament told Frontex to drop their demand against us for the payment of € 10,520 in legal fees. The EU border force has chosen to disregard EU Members of Parliament – again.
EU border police force Frontex has reinstated its demand we pay € 10,520.76 in legal fees, setting Monday 4 October 2021 as a final deadline and threatening forceful recovery in case of non-payment.
By doing so, Frontex is choosing to disregard the European Parliament, which twice this year (in April and again in June) called on Frontex to drop its demand for legal fees. The Parliament had warned Frontex legal threats like these create a chilling effect on civil society, and had instructed the border agency to refrain from seeking payment, in our case and ever again in the future.
The Parliament’s instructions, however, seem of little importance to Frontex, who has decided to push for the payment of the legal fees regardless. Frontex is demanding from us the payment of € 10,520.76 in legal fees after we lost our lawsuit against the agency, in which we seeked disclosure of the vessels Frontex deployed in the Central Mediterranean in the summer of 2017.
Read the whole blog at the website of FragDenStaat and this Twitter thread to see how an attempt to pay the money in cash to Frontex in Brussels resulted in an evacuation of their offices.
Sunday 3 October 2021 marks the anniversary of the death of over 360 people on the move, during a shipwreck off Lampedusa in 2013, and as such is a day of commemoration. Also on this day, in 2005, the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex started operating in the Polish capital Warsaw. This is not a reason for celebration or festivities: Frontex has left a track record of death and destructed lives in its sixteen years of existence.
Frontex started as a small agency, supporting and coordinating border security between EU member states. Now it is the EU agency with the largest budget, dominating EU border operations, building its own 10,000 person strong armed border police force (Standing Border Guard Corps) and increasing cooperation with non-EU-countries, including many authoritarian regimes. The first batches of its new Standing Corps have been deployed to assist with border security and control work in Italy, Greece, Spain, the Western Balkans, Lithuania and Latvia, as well as at several airports. This signals a new more active field role for the agency, next to its own main operations. Those have concentrated on stopping migrants from crossing the Mediterranean, essentially pushing people on the move to more dangerous routes and into the hands of unscrupulous smugglers. With its growing role and mandate, Frontex has increasingly become involved in pushbacks, violence and other human rights against people on the move.
Continue reading “Frontex: 16 years of a humanitarian and political disaster”
Over the past 15 years, border police force Frontex has grown to become the EU’s most powerful agency. With a budget of € 5.6 billion and an army of 10,000 border guards due by 2027, Frontex is the key actor in implementing – as well as advancing – Fortress Europe’s deadly policies.
During this 15-year period, in which the EU decided to devote unlimited resources into the creation and expansion of its border giant, the Mediterranean Sea became, and currently remains, the world’s deadliest migration route.
These are two events – the growth of Frontex and an ever-mounting number of deaths at sea – that must be read as one: a political choice being made and carefully planned by the EU and its Member States, to protect borders over lives.
Continue reading “Defund Frontex, Build a European Search and Rescue Programme”
At the beginning of August the EU published two new contract award notices for aerial surveillance services for Frontex, worth €84.5 million. Some of the companies that were contracted have already been performing surveillance flights in the Mediterranean and elsewhere for Frontex for years now. With this they contribute to the system of increasingly militarised borders, which results in pushbacks and violence against people on the move.
A €53.6 million contract for ‘Mid-Range Maritime Surveillance Missions’ was awarded to DEA Aviation (UK), EASP Air (Netherlands), 2. Scotty Group Austria and 2Excel Aviation (UK). The same companies, with the addition of ISR Support Europe (Netherlands), also got a €30.9 million contract for ‘Long-Range Maritime Surveillance Missions’. Continue reading “Frontex awards €84.5 million in aerial surveillance contracts”
On Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 July the European Parliament will debate and vote on the Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF), a new instrument to strengthen member states’ border security capacities and visa policies. The €6.24 billion available for 2021-2027 will be spend on “the strengthening of European integrated border management, the purchase of border management equipment to be used by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the common visa policy and relevant IT systems.” Continue reading “European Parliament votes on Integrated Border Management Fund”
After the campaign launch with actions in 8 countries on 9 June, there has been a callout to bring the campaign to the streets again on Sunday 20 June, World Refugee Day. Join actions on this day to to bring attention to the EU’s border regime and Frontex’ key role in it.
Continue reading “Next day of action: World Refugee Day – 20 June”
Read this letter in:
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To: EU member states governments, the European Commission, European Council, Council of the EU, European Parliament and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex)
Over 44 740 people have died so far this year trying to cross the Mediterranean, looking for a place of safety. The EU’s border regime forced them to take dangerous migration routes, often on unseaworthy vessels; it enlisted neighbouring countries to stop them on their way; met them with violence and pushbacks; or refused to rescue them – abandoning them to drown at sea.
Continue reading “Abolish Frontex, end the EU border regime”
Frontex is building its own Standing Border Guard Corps to work on border security, border control and deportations. This should be 10,000 persons strong by 2027, though recruitment and training is lagging behind. Frontex wants this corps to be armed, and is in the process of purchasing firearms, but the legal grounds for this are still unclear.
Mid-May Frontex started a tender procedure for the purchase of 2,500 9 x 19 mm semi-automatic pistols and over 3,6 million rounds of ammunition for its border guard corps. It expects to spend €5 million on this in the next two years, with the possibility to prolong the contract for two more years. Other items on the shopping list are bulletproof vests, rubber and telescopic battons and cans of lachrymatory agents. Continue reading “Firearms for Frontex”