Discharge: Renew Europe exercises its democratic control while giving a new chance to Frontex and its management

Author: Yannick Laude

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It is with cautious vigilance that Renew Europe has today agreed to discharge the execution of the accounts of the Frontex Agency for the protection of the EU's external borders. Meeting in plenary session in Strasbourg, the European Parliament closed the discharge procedure in favour of Frontex for the 2019 budget year, which was suspended last April due to various investigations seriously implicating the Agency.

Since then, some of the problems identified have been resolved, notably through the creation of a transparency register and the recruitment of some 20 fundamental rights monitors. While no conclusive evidence has been found against Frontex regarding the matter of collective pushback and / or expulsions, Parliament nevertheless considers that the Agency should have been more responsive in the face of situations it could not ignore. The roadmap and the dedicated action plans presented by Frontex are certainly a step in the right direction, but major problems remain which lead the Parliament to accompany its green light to the discharge of a reserve of 12% of the budget of the Agency in 2022. This conditional measure reflects Parliament's dual desire to exercise its democratic control while giving a new chance to Frontex and its management.

Ramona STRUGARIU (USR, Romania), Renew Europe shadow rapporteur for the Frontex discharge in the Parliamentary Budgetary Control Committee (CONT), said : “Frontex is by far the largest decentralised agency of the Union and has an extremely sensitive mandate - keeping our borders safe. It is therefore vital that the Agency implements its mandate with utmost responsibility. We support voting in favour of the second Frontex discharge report for 2019, which is a very good compromise as on the one hand the motion grants discharge, but on the other it is highly critical of the aspects that still need improvement and has a clear conditionality clause for the Agency receiving discharge next year. We expect more responsibility, full respect for fundamental rights and enhanced transparency from Frontex’s leadership in order to have a strong and trusted Agency”.