Frontex under scrutiny: inquiries and investigations November 2020 onwards

Building from a policy brief by Ilaria Aversa (University of Greenwich) and Mariana Gkliati (Leiden University, University of Leiden), this section of the Observatory provides a resource on actions and investigations launched regarding Frontex since November 2020.

Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, is currently under heavy scrutiny from multiple angles, including the European Parliament, the EU Ombudsman, and the European Anti-Fraud Office. At the same time judicial action has been initiated vis-à-vis the agency.

This unprecedented activation of accountability mechanisms has been sparked by allegations of the complicity of the agency in push-backs at the Greek-Turkish border, supported by evidence published by a consortium of media outlets in November 2020, including the German magazine Der Spiegel, the broadcaster ARD and Bellingcat.

This section of the Observatory aims to give a bird’s eye’s view of the recent investigations of Frontex.

15 February 2024

Pylos shipwreck

14 June 2022

FSWG exchange of view: Frontex and non-EU countries

The LIBE Committee Frontex Scrutiny Working Group (FSWG) held an exchange of views on Frontex’s activities in non-EU countries today, though certain questions by members were left conspicuously unanswered.

22 January 2022

Action brought on 21 May 2021 – SS and ST v Frontex (Case T-282/21)

In May 2021 the organisation front-LEX filed legal proceedings against Frontex at the European Court of Justice, calling on the tribunal to force Frontex to terminate its activities in the Aegean Sea due to the "undisputed and overwhelming evidence for serious and persisting violations of fundamental rights" in the agency's area of operations. The application was made on behalf of two people - a child asylum-seeker and an adult who is now a recognised refugee in Greece, known as SS and ST - and argues that Frontex had contributed to the fundamental rights violations they suffered on the journey to Greece.

27 July 2021

Annex to the European Parliament scrutiny group report on fundamental rights violations

Draft annex to the Frontex Scrutiny Working Group (FSWG) report, supported by EPP, S&D, Renew and Greens.

26 May 2021

EU: Legal action against Frontex's operations in Greece initiated at the European Court of Justice

Human rights organisation Front-Lex has submitted the first ever action against Frontex to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), calling on it to take measures to ensure that Frontex meets its human rights obligations under international and EU law.

Frontex Management Board Working Group

Purpose: Investigation on alleged Human Rights violations in the Aegean Sea Operations

European Parliament Frontex Scrutiny Group

Purpose: Initial four-month enquiry on the respect by Frontex of human rights in operations in the Aegean.

European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF)

Purpose: Investigation into alleged misconduct, and allegations of migrant pushbacks.

European Ombudsman I

Purpose: Investigation on Frontex dealing with a request for public access to documents regarding tracking data of Frontex vessels.

European Ombudsman II

Purpose: How the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex) dealt with multiple requests for public access to documents concerning contracts with private companies

European Ombudsman III

Purpose: Investigation on Frontex failure to maintain a public register of documents and other issues related to public access to documents.

European Ombudsman IV

Purpose: Investigation how Frontex deals with requests for public access to documents

European Ombudsman V

Purpose: Investigation on the failure of Frontex to reply to an administrative complaint

European Ombudsman VI

Purpose: Investigation of the functioning of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency's (Frontex) Complaints Mechanism for alleged breaches of fundamental rights

European Ombudsman VII

Purpose: Strategic inquiry on how Frontex complies with its obligations and ensures accountability in relation to its new enhanced responsibilities under Regulation (EU) 2019/1896

European Ombudsman VIII

Purpose: investigation into the refusal by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) to give public access to documents concerning a search and rescue operation

European Ombudsman IX

Purpose: Complaint over the European Border and Coast Guard Agency's (Frontex) refusal to give public access to documents concerning the 'European Border and Coast Guard Day'

Preliminary action against Frontex pursuant to Art. 265 TFEU

Court: Court of Justice of the European Union


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