A second extraordinary meeting of the Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) took place at the request of the Commission on 9 December 2020. The meeting aimed, in particular, to consider the written replies provided by the Executive Director to the questions raised by several members of the Board and, more generally, to monitor the progress of the internal enquiry into the allegations of pushbacks of migrants in the Aegean Sea recently reported in the media and a number of fundamental rights related points that was launched at the last ordinary meeting of the Management Board (25 and 26 November), following the conclusions of the Chair of the Management Board of 10 November 2020.
The second extraordinary meeting was, on this point, attended by the Spokesperson of the Board’s newly established Working Group on fundamental rights and legal and operational aspects of Frontex operations, by a representative of the Fundamental Rights Agency and an expert from the Secretariat to the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee. The mandate of the Working Group was established at the last ordinary meeting of the Management Board and includes, in a first step, the verification and establishment of the facts and, in a second step, the formulation of recommendations.
The Working Group will continue its work, including over the holiday period, and deliver a first report to the Management Board on the push-back allegations for its meeting on 21 January 2021.
The Commission (represented by Director-General Monique Pariat and Director Matthias Oel of the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs) once again stressed the need to carry out a rapid but thorough enquiry into the allegations and reports, with a view to establishing the facts and to maintaining the reputation and operational capacity of the Agency in line with its founding Regulation and applicable legal framework.
At the same extraordinary meeting of 9 December, the Management Board also adopted a decision on the new organisational structure of the Agency. This, in turn, enables the Commission to now launch the pre-selection procedure for the three Deputy Executive Directors of Frontex, in the view of their appointment by the Management Board pursuant to the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation. The new administrative structure, with clearly allocated areas of responsibility at the senior management level in line with the Regulation, should contribute to a stronger, more effective and more resilient governance framework.
Finally, the Management Board was also informed by the Executive Director of the state of play regarding the setting up of the European Border and Coast Guard standing corps in view of the first effective deployments of its members to Frontex operations which should take place as of 1 January 2021 in accordance with the Regulation.
The next meeting of the Management Board is scheduled to take place on 20 and 21 January 2021.