15 July 2021
The report: WORKING DOCUMENT: Report on the fact-finding investigation on Frontex concerning alleged fundamental rights violations (pdf) and the full-text is reproduced below.
LIBE Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
Report on the fact-finding investigation on Frontex concerning alleged fundamental rights violations
LIBE Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
Rapporteur: Tineke Strik
Members of the FSWG:
Roberta METSOLA (Chair, EPP)
Lena DUEPONT (EPP)
Bettina VOLLATH, Javier MORENO SANCHEZ (S&D)
Malik AZMANI, Dragos TUDORACHE (RENEW)
Erik MARQUARDT, Tineke STRIK (Greens/EFA)
Nicolas BAY, Peter KOFOD (ID)
Patryk Tomas JAKI, Jorge BUXADÉ VILLALBA (ECR)
Sira REGO, Cornelia ERNST (The Left)
1. Constitution of the FSWG and reason for inquiry
The Frontex Scrutiny Working Group (FSWG) of the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee was constituted following a decision of the LIBE Coordinators of 23 February 2021, endorsed by the LIBE Committee on 1 March 2021. The FSWG’s mandate is to permanently monitor all aspects of the functioning of Frontex, including its reinforced role and resources for integrated border management, the correct application of the EU acquis, and its execution of Regulations (EU) 2019/1896 and 656/2014.
Within the first four months of its existence, the FSWG was requested to carry out a fact-finding investigation, gathering all relevant information and evidence regarding alleged violations of fundamental rights in which the Agency was involved, was aware of and/or did not act, internal management, procedures for reporting, and the handling of complaints.
Meanwhile, other investigations are pending or have recently been finished. The European Court of Auditors released its report on the effectiveness of Frontex’s support to external border management on 7 June 2021. In November 2020, the European Ombudsman started an own-initiative inquiry on the functioning of the complaint mechanism, which was released on 15 June 2021. In December 2020, OLAF opened an investigation concerning the Agency. On Wednesday 28 April 2021, the Parliament decided to postpone the discharge to the 2019 budget of Frontex, as long as the OLAF investigation and the parliamentary inquiry are still ongoing.
The FSWG was requested to present its findings on the fact-finding investigation in a written report with conclusions and concrete recommendations. For that purpose, the FSWG has held eight public meetings dedicated to the fact-finding investigation with several sources and stakeholders. In addition to these public meetings, the FSWG has held five internal meetings to discuss its findings and recommendations.
In addition to these exchanges of views, the FSWG requested numerous documents from Frontex and the European Commission, in order to analyse the responses of the Agency to possible fundamental rights violations. The FSWG also opened a mailbox for external actors to submit evidence and it has formally requested reports on pushbacks from the UNHCR. On 14-15 June, the members of the FSWG conducted a virtual mission to the Agency’s headquarters in Warsaw.
2. Allegations of fundamental rights violations in which Frontex was reportedly involved, aware of and/or did not act upon
A. Allegations of fundamental rights violations
During recent years, NGOs and international organisations have presented a series of cases of alleged fundamental rights violations, pushbacks and collective expulsions at EU external borders. Reports by actors like UNHCR, the Greek Ombudsman, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Border Violence Monitoring Network or Refugee Support Aegean indicate a pattern of behaviour by border- and coastguards that puts lives at risk at sea, jeopardises access to asylum and uses violence to deter people.
Intergovernmental organisations like the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants of the UN, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe explicitly state that EU Member States are violating their international and regional human rights and maritime law obligations when carrying out pushbacks and unlawful collective expulsions against asylum seekers, refugees and migrants arriving to their borders.
Since March 2020, attention has particularly been focused on the modus operandi of the Greek authorities. According to reports related to Greece, pushbacks, sometimes undertaken by unidentified forces wearing uniforms and masks and carrying weapons, have expanded to migrants after arrival on the islands or the mainland. It is unclear whether there was any direct participation by Frontex in these alleged actions.
The Greek Ombudsman, who has been investigating alleged cases of pushbacks for years, released an interim report in April 2021 on pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish land border, in which he noticed the lack of investigations and proper responses by Greek authorities and urged for investigations, as the claims of violations are persistently accompanied by denial from the country´s authorities.
A joint investigation by Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports, Der Spiegel, ARD and TV Asahi (after: the Bellingcat report) stated that Frontex planes were in the vicinity of the maritime Greek-Turkish border where alleged pushback operations were ongoing. The reporters claimed to have found evidence that Frontex had knowledge of the pushbacks, did nothing to ensure compliance with legal obligations, and in some cases even cooperated with the authorities carrying out the illegal pushbacks and collective expulsions.
In its report of December 2020, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency gives an overview of reports by institutions of the Member States, Council of Europe and the UN, on violations of fundamental rights at EU external borders, pointing out that at some of the involved border sections, Frontex was carrying out joint border surveillance operations at the time. When examining the operations of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the European Court of Auditors detailed the inadequate functioning of the Agency as a result of its failure to implement in full its 2016 mandate, and concluded that there is a significant risk that Frontex will struggle to implement its mandate from 2019.
B. Response by Frontex to these allegations
In November 2020, the Management Board established a Working Group Fundamental Rights and Legal Operational Aspects of Operations (WG FRaLO) to investigate the specific allegations raised by the investigation of the journalists regarding alleged involvement of Frontex with pushbacks in the Eastern Mediterranean. In its final report of 1 March 2021, based on the preliminary report of 21 January 2021, the Management Board concluded that out of the 13 incidents put forward by the Bellingcat report, eight cases had not caused a violation of the Frontex Regulation, and five examined incidents were not yet, or could not yet be clarified.
At its extraordinary meeting in May 2021, the Management Board concluded that 4 out of the 5 outstanding cases have been closed, although in two out of the five cases, the Management Board concluded with “the strong belief that the presented facts support an allegation of possible violation of fundamental rights or international protection obligations such as the principle of non-refoulement, and that it cannot be excluded that the incident has characteristics of a case of unprocessed return and violation of the principle of non-refoulement”.
The Management Board adopted a range of recommendations specifically aiming at improving the reporting mechanisms, the possibility to monitor follow up actions by national border guards, the implementation of Article 46 and the human rights sensitivity of the Agency. On the 15th of January, six and a half years after the entry into force of Regulation (EU) No 656/2014, the Management Board requested a legal opinion on the nature and extent of Frontex’s obligations in the context of its implementation of joint maritime operations at the Union’s external sea borders. The Commission delivered its opinion on 3 March 2021. Frontex implemented the recommendation of the WG FRaLO regarding the reporting mechanism as part of a SOP adopted in April 2021.
C. General conclusions
The FSWG concludes that several reliable actors, such as national- and international human rights bodies and organisations, consistently reported about fundamental rights violations at the border in a number of Member States, but that Frontex generally disregarded these reports. The Agency also failed to adequately respond to internal observations about certain cases of probable fundamental rights violations in Member States which were raised by the FRO, the CF or through incident report
The FSWG did not find conclusive evidence on the direct performance of pushbacks and/or collective expulsions by Frontex in the serious incident cases that could be examined by the FSWG. However, the FSWG concludes that the Agency found evidence in support of allegations of fundamental rights violations in Member States with which it had a joint operation, but failed to address and follow-up on these violations promptly, vigilantly and effectively. As a result, Frontex did not prevent these violations, nor reduced the risk of future fundamental rights violations.
The FSWG found deficiencies in Frontex’s mechanisms to monitor, report and assess fundamental rights situations and developments, and makes concrete recommendations for improvement. But it has also identified gaps in the framework of cooperation with Member States, which may hamper the fulfilment of Frontex’s fundamental rights obligations.
The FSWG is concerned about the lack of cooperation of the Executive Director to ensure compliance with some of the provisions of the EBCG Regulation, notably on fundamental rights, which led to significant delays in the implementation of the Regulation. In this context, the FSWG regrets his recurrent refusal to implement the recommendations of the Commission to ensure compliance with the newly adopted Regulation. The FSWG strongly disapproves of the delay in the recruitment of the fundamental rights monitors, which sharply contrasts with the proposal of the Executive Director to expand the Cabinet of the Executive Management of Frontex to 63 staff members.
Moreover, the FSWG takes the position that the Management Board should have played a much more proactive role in acknowledging the serious risk of fundamental rights violations and in taking action to ensure that Frontex fulfils its negative and positive fundamental rights obligations as enshrined in the Regulation. During the last months, Frontex has developed internal procedures and rules necessary to comply with the Regulation. The FSWG welcomes this, but urges both actors to further increase the fundamental rights compliance of the Agency by reconsidering its internal structures and communication, as well as the cooperation with the host Member States.
Finally, the FSWG highlights the responsibility of the Member States and the Commission, outside their role in the Management Board as well. They should step up their involvement and actions to ensure that Frontex’s support of border surveillance goes hand in hand with adequately preventing and combating fundamental rights violations.
3. Fundamental Rights compliance of Frontex
Conclusions and recommendations on the implementation of the Regulation.
A. Division of responsibilities between the Agency and Member States in relation to fundamental rights
The FSWG learned that the principle of working under instructions of the host Member States can hinder the capacity of Frontex to fulfil its fundamental rights obligations. This was the case when Frontex was ordered to leave or not to enter a place in the operational area where a risk of fundamental rights violations could be expected, or when they were refused access to fundamental rights related information. The limits which are experienced by Frontex in practice to only investigate fundamental rights compliance in relation to assets financed or co-financed by Frontex enables host Member States to use nationally funded assets in joint operational areas for operations with a higher risk of fundamental rights violations. A letter from Frontex to the host Member States requesting to have these assets covered by the mandate of Frontex has been left unanswered.
With the monitoring by the Fundamental Rights Monitors (FRMs), the need for unrestricted and unannounced access to relevant spots, assets and information becomes even more crucial. Apart from the operational teams, the FRO also faces difficulties while evaluating Joint Operations or investigating the fundamental rights situation in a host Member State. According to the European Ombudsman, replies by national authorities to the FRO are often delayed and do not include evidence on the substance of the case. The European Court of Auditors report confirms that the refusal to share national information with Frontex team members is a real problem that severely impedes effective functioning of the Agency.
Although the risk assessment, vulnerability assessment and situational picture are the main basis for the decision to launch a Joint Operation or Rapid Border Intervention, they do not include a fundamental rights analysis. Furthermore, the European Court of Auditors found deficiencies in the risk assessment, vulnerability assessments and the situational picture available to the Agency. These gaps hamper the possibility for adequate criteria and conditions in the operational plan (OPLAN).
B. Role of border- and coastguards in relation to fundamental rights violations
Since the Agency should function as the eyes and ears on the ground, the FSWG finds that in order to ensure respect for fundamental rights, it is of utmost importance that border- and coastguards face no hurdle or repercussion whatsoever for signalling wrongful or potentially unlawful acts or situations. The FSWG underlines that the whistleblower guidelines should offer clear and high standard protection and notes that seconded national experts and other non-staff members currently do not receive the same level of protection as members of staff.
The FSWG notes that Frontex has documented several aggressive actions by officials of the Turkish Coastguard, which underlines the operational complexities European border guards are confronted with. Frontex operates and is going to operate in areas where geopolitical complexities are unforeseen.
The FSWG has found that some deployed border guards, who needed to submit a SIR through the chain of command, were discouraged from submitting a SIR. In one case examined by the FSWG, a deployed officer who submitted a SIR was ordered by the host Member State to operate in another part of the operational area.
The FSWG also found that the implementing rules on the supervisory mechanism to monitor the application of the provisions on the use of force fail to guarantee that sufficient fundamental rights expertise is involved in the decision making.
C. Role of the Fundamental Rights Officer and the Consultative Forum
The FSWG has found that the Fundamental Rights Officer (FRO) and the Consultative Forum (CF) were frequently not involved from the start in the development of rules, procedures and strategies on matters concerning fundamental rights. This increases the risk that Frontex’s policy lacks sufficient safeguards to ensure compliance with fundamental rights provisions of its own regulation. Although the capacity of the office of the FRO has increased, it is still very limited compared to its increased number of tasks. Especially for analysing tasks and for the support of the FRO, the office may suffer from shortages in the near future.
The FSWG has found that the recommendations and opinions of the CF are not sufficiently taken into account by the Management Board and the Executive Director. The FSWG has found that the internally established confidentiality rules affect the effectiveness of the CF, as it hinders the Forum from sharing its recommendations and opinions with external actors.
The FSWG has found that the ED has caused a significant and unnecessary delay in the recruitment of at least 40 FRMs, which seriously hampered the Agency’s capability to monitor fundamental rights compliance during joint operations. This violates the obligation in the Regulation to ensure that at least 40 fundamental rights monitors were recruited by 5 December 2020. At the time of preparation of this report, this obligation remains unfulfilled and no clear timeline exists for its fulfilment.
The Fundamental Rights Officer has recruited 20 FRMs by now, of which 15 have been appointed at AST level. This lower ranking may affect the monitor’s authority and autonomy, access to classified and sensitive information, and therefore their effectiveness. As the AST-level monitors can only be deployed to operations coupled with AD-level monitors, de facto only five areas of operations, including returns, can be monitored at the same time.
D. Role of the Executive Director
The FSWG finds that the Executive Director has often not involved the FRO and the CF in fundamental rights related discussions or decisions on strategies and rules, or has only involved them at a late stage of a decision making process. From the documents provided to the FSWG, it has become clear that the Executive Director repeatedly did not respond to recommendations, opinions, advises, evaluations or requests for information from both the FRO and the CF. The Executive Director challenged critical questions about this, by stating that the FRO should have insisted on a formal reply. He has confirmed to the FSWG that there are currently no internal procedures in place regarding responses and follow-up actions to advice and opinions of the FRO. This systematic absence of responses has significantly hampered the effectiveness of the role of the FRO and the CF.
The FSWG notes with concern that the Executive Director has delayed the recruitment of the three Deputy Executive Directors, and has refrained from delegating independent powers to them. In combination with the proposal of the Executive Director to expand the Cabinet of the Executive Management of Frontex to 63 staff members, the FSWG is strongly concerned about insufficient checks and balances within the Agency.
The FSWG regrets that the large number of reports of alleged fundamental rights violations at borders where Frontex is operational have not triggered a comprehensive assessment by the Agency on the measures to be taken to prevent those violations or on whether the Agency should apply Article 46. On the contrary, the Executive Director continues to maintain that he is not aware of any information that fundamental rights have been or are being violated, and even denies that he had received reports from actors that have confirmed they shared their findings with the Agency.
The obligation to suspend an operation has so far only been used once in the case of Hungary. This was done five years after the first recommendation of the FRO, although many reports from several sources described serious and persistent fundamental rights violations at the Hungarian border. The decision by the ED to suspend came six weeks after the judgement of the CJEU on infringement procedures against Hungary. The decision to suspend the activities in Hungary did not reveal that the operation on Return would continue. This decision goes against the conclusion of the CJEU that the return decisions issued by the Hungarian authorities are incompatible with the Return Directive and the Charter.
E. The Management Board response to the allegations of fundamental rights violations
The FSWG welcomes the Management Board’s (MB) inquiry on the reporting mechanisms and the related recommendations. However, on the conclusion of the MB that the inquiry of the FRaLO WG could be considered closed, several concerns remain for the FSWG, for the following reasons.
The FSWG regrets that the FRaLO WG limited its inquiry to information retrieved from within the Agency itself and from the Member States. An exchange with the investigative journalists whose work constituted the reason for the inquiry, and with institutions like the Greek Ombudsman and UNHCR would have been appropriate. In addition, the FSWG would have preferred for the FRO and the CF to participate in the FRaLO WG, given their fundamental rights expertise, knowledge of the procedures and independence.
From the documents received by the FSWG, it became clear that the MB has taken note of many SIRs, but does not seem to have discussed or drawn any conclusions on the overall picture that arises from the total number of reports and the seriousness of the allegations. The MB should have been more proactive in raising these issues, it has also not firmly requested thorough and transparent national investigations and subsequently taken further steps in order to prevent potential violations of fundamental rights by host Member States.
In view of the overall responsibilities of the MB, the FSWG regrets that the Board was not more proactive in ensuring that the Agency updated and adapted its internal rules in time as a consequence of the new mandate granted to the Agency under the 2019 Regulation, namely the fundamental rights strategy and accompanying action plan, the rules on the independence of the FRO, the supervisory mechanism on the use of force, the rules for the executive director on the authorization on the carry/use of weapons and on the storage and transportation of weapons, but also the appointment of the three Deputy Executive Directors, the FRO and of the 40 FRMs.
4. Governance, oversight, procedures for reporting, and the handling of complaints
A. Complaints, Reporting and Transparency
The FSWG welcomes the European Ombudsman's inquiry into the Frontex complaints mechanism for breaches of fundamental rights and the role of the Fundamental Rights Officer and stresses that timely and adequate follow up by Member States to complaints is essential. The inquiry concludes that there has been delay by Frontex in implementing the important changes introduced by Regulation 2019/1896 and identified many areas for improvement. Since the situation is in the process of being resolved, the Ombudsman decided not pursue this matter further.
The FSWG shares the conclusion of the Ombudsman that the complaints mechanism currently does not meet the criteria of effectiveness concerning accessibility, institutional independence, and transparency. The FSWG stresses that timely and adequate follow up by Member States to complaints is essential.
The FSWG has found that, since 2017, the FRO was not sufficiently involved in the handling of SIRs. As the FRO was not informed about all SIRs, she could not correct a potential wrongful categorisation. In at least one case, the Executive Director recategorised a SIR situation related to a suspected violation of fundamental rights (category 4) and requested the FRO to remove all information gathered. The FRO should be protected against such interventions in cases where he/she is obviously competent. The FSWG underlines the FRaLO WG’s conclusion that any incident implying a possible violation of fundamental rights should have been categorized in a Serious Incident Report category 4 and immediately allocated to the coordination of the FRO.
Frontex claims that access to the document is only allowed to the person that requested it, and who is not able to share it further. However, the Agency as an EU institution does not fall under the law on intellectual property. As the FRaLO WG has noted, a too restricted classification regime reduces transparency.
B. Governance and accountability
The FSWG observes that until recently, the Parliament was not informed adequately about activities and evaluations by Frontex, going beyond receiving publicly available reports. Concerning other types of information, the level of confidentiality hampered the democratic control to be exercised by the Parliament. The FSWG observes that the ED has made oral or written statements to the Parliament that did not reflect the knowledge he had at the time of its statements;
The accountability of the Executive Director to the Council, implies an overall responsibility of the Council for a proper functioning of the Agency. The Court of Auditors, when examining the operations of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, details the insufficient functioning of the Agency due to its failure to implement in full its 2016 mandate, noting that “the Agency responded to its new responsibilities in an ad hoc fashion and only began to address its needs in a systematic way in 2019”. In addition, the Court of Auditors concluded that there is a significant risk that Frontex will struggle to implement its mandate from 2019, partly due to a not yet sufficiently developed information exchange framework with the Member States.
In line with its oversight functions, the Commission has engaged in an intensive and long lasting communication with the Executive Director in order to achieve a correct and timely implementation of the obligations of the 2019 Regulation. Despite these efforts, it took Frontex about 13 months to prepare the adoption of the rules on the FRO’s independence and another 3 months to complete the procedure for appointing a new FRO. The efforts by the Commission could also not prevent the long delays in the recruitment of the FRMs and the deputy directors.
 European Court of Auditors, Special Report 08/2021, “Frontex’s support to external border management: not sufficiently effective to date”.
 European Ombudsman, Case OI/5/2020/MHZ.
 According to media reports, this investigation concerns allegations of harassment, misconduct and migrant pushbacks.
 European Parliament decision and resolution of 28 April 2021 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency for the financial year 2019 (2020/2167(DEC)).
 An overview of these exchanges of views can be found in the Annex to this report.
 A summary of this virtual mission can be found in the Annex to this report.
 Amnesty International, Europe: pushback practices and their impact on the human rights of migrants and refugees, February 2021.
 See latest Human Rights Watch report on pushbacks: https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/06/23/frontex-failing-protect-people-eu-borders.
 Border Violence Monitoring Network, Annual Torture Report 2020.
 Refugee Support Aegean, Push backs and violations of human rights at sea: a timeline, December 2020.
 OHCHR, "Lethal Disregard" Search and rescue and the protection of migrants in the central Mediterranean Sea, May 2020.
 Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants, UN HRC, Report on means to address the human rights impact of pushbacks of migrants on land and at sea, 12 May 2021.
 Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe, A distress call for human rights: the widening gap in migrant protection in the Mediterranean, March 2021.
 CPT, Report to the Greek Government on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 17 March 2020, Strasbourg, 19 November 2020, CPT/Inf (2020) 35; See also CPT’s report on its mission to Hungary in 2017, where it also touched upon the role of Frontex, https://rm.coe.int/16808d6f12, as well as its follow up report.
 PACE, ‘Pushback policies and practices in Council of Europe Member States’, resolution no. 2099 and recommendation. no. 2161, adopted 28 June 2019.
 The Greek Ombudsman, Alleged pushbacks to Turkey of foreign nationals who had arrived in Greece seeking international protection, Interim Report, April 2021.
 Bellincat et al., ‘Frontex at Fault: European Border Force Complicit in ‘Illegal’ Pushbacks’, 23 October 2020.
 FRA, Migration: Fundamental Rights issues at land borders”, December 2020, para. 4.2.
 ECA Special Report 08/2021, Frontex’s support to external border management: not sufficiently effective to date.
 Decision of the Management Board, no. 39/2020, 10 November 2020.
 Final Report of the Frontex Management Board Working Group on “Fundamental Rights and Legal Operational Aspects of Operations in the Aegean Sea”, 1 March 2021.
 Explanatory note on the state of play of the five incidents reviewed in the final report of the management board working group on fundamental rights and legal and operational aspects of operations, 23 April 2021.
 European Commission, Legal Opinion on “The nature and extent of Frontex’s obligations in the context of its implementation of joint maritime operations at the Union’s external sea borders”, 3 March 2021.
 European Court of Auditors, Special Report 08/2021, “Frontex’s support to external border management: not sufficiently effective to date”.
 Conclusions of the Management Board’s meeting on 20-21 January 2021 on the preliminary report of its Working Group on Fundamental Rights and Legal Operational Aspects of Operations in the Aegean Sea.
 See Chapter 3(D) for the application of art. 46.
 See SIR no. 12604/2020, 30 October 2020. In the explanatory note on the state of play of the five outstanding incidents of the FRaLO report, 23 April 2021, reg.no. 4472, the FRO emphasizes the repetitive nature of such allegations, and the importance of an impartial, objective and confidential investigative procedure.
 See the minutes of a hearing with a NO on 8 December 2020, on SIR no. 12604/2020.
 See also FRA: ‘Migration: Fundamental Rights, Issues at land borders”, December 2020, p. 35.
 Preliminary Report of the Frontex Management Board Working Group, 19 January 2021, para. 5.3.
 The Forum currently consists of thirteen organisations, namely: the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), The Council of Europe (CoE), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe - Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE ODIHR), Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights), Amnesty International European Institutions Office (EIO), Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Jesuit Refugee Service Europe (JRS), Red Cross EU Office (RCEU) and Save the Children (SC).
 This has led one of its members to leave the CF, see: https://picum.org/picum-is-no-longer-part-of-the-frontex-consultative-forum/.
 Art. 110, Regulation 2019/1896.
 The division of posts between AST4 and AD7 for future FRMs for 2020 was agreed between the FRO a.i. and the Executive Director having regards to the limits of Frontex Establishment plan 2020 and 2021 and communicated to the Management Board.
 See explanatory note for the Management Board of 16/17 June 2021, with the state of play of the recruitment of the Fundamental Rights Monitors, 26 May 2021.
According to the information provided by the Agency to the FSWG, since 2017, the FRO has filed 7 expressions of concern about fundamental rights related situations to which no response followed by the ED; submitted "Annual General Reports on Serious Incident Reports" to which no response followed by the ED; submitted at least 40 observations to OPLANs or FERs, to which no response followed by the ED;
submitted 3 "Complaints Mechanisms Annual Reports" since 2017, to which no response followed by the ED; submitted 11 "Fundamental Rights Officer Reports to the MB", to which no response followed by the ED; on 8 occasions provided other types of formal opinions or observations, following MB decisions, procedures in Regulation 2020/1986 or the initiative of FRO, to only 2 of which a response followed by the ED;
 Replies to follow-up questions from FSWG, reply to question VIII, 1) from the Greens/EFA group.
 For instance, Frontex has denied two times to have received information from UNHCR, while UNHCR sent the FSWG a declaration on its communication with Frontex.
 The Commission called for heightened vigilance when assessing the possibility of supporting Hungary in return-related activities (HOME.C.1.003/MH).
 SIR nos. 11860/2020, 11934/2020, 12604/2020.
 For instance, during the MB meeting of 16-17 June 2021, it simply took note of the presentation by the FRO of 10 new SIRs on allegations of fundamental rights violations by the Greek border- and coastguard, reported in 2020 and between January and May 2021.
 Decision in OI/5/2020/MHZ on the functioning of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency's (Frontex) complaints mechanism for alleged breaches of fundamental rights and the role of the Fundamental Rights Officer, 15 June 2021.
 SIR 11095/2020.
 FRaLO WG preliminary report January 2021, p. 36.
 Three weeks after the SIR of the incident of 18-19 April 2020 was filed, the ED addressed a letter to the Greek authorities, requesting to launch an internal investigation and to coordinate the possible follow-up measures stemming from the mentioned incident only relied on information provided by the operational command itself. Yet, after the Greek authorities denied the allegations and ignored the call for an internal investigation, the executive director did not provide for any follow up measures. An assessment of all SIR reports available reveal that this is in line with a pattern that a case is closed after the host Member State has denied the reported incident.
 Decision of the Executive Director No R-ED-2021-51, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) – Serious Incident Reporting of 19/04/2021.
 EP resolution of 28 April 2021 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency for the financial year 2019, 2020/2167 (DEC).
 In the hearing on 6 July 2020 before the LIBE Committee, the ED stated referring to the 2 March incident, "this was the only case", while he knew of at least one other incident as he had signed a letter on 8th of May to the Greek Minister about the 18-19 April incident; in the same hearing of 6 July, the ED misrepresented the material facts of the 2 of March as he stated that the Danish vessels was "instructed by the HCG not to take on board the migrants intercepted at sea but to return them to Turkey", while they were already on board of the vessels; in the written replies provided by the Agency to the FSWG, FRONTEX stated that "Frontex is not aware of the exact information observed by UNHCR and referred by it for investigation of the Greek authorities" and that " Frontex has never received any information from UNHCR, therefore no investigation has been launched related to this material." This was repeated by the ED when he came to the FSWG. This is inaccurate, as, in a letter dated 25 of May, UNHCR confirmed to the FSWG that exchanges on pushback incidents have indeed taken place with Frontex; Commissioner Ylva Johansson stated after the hearing of 1 December that “some of the things being said by the Executive Director in Parliament [are] not true”
 Article 107(2).
 Article 107(5).
 Article 107(6).
 Article 73(3) and 106(2).
 Article 6 Regulation 2019/1896.
 See the letter of Director-General Pariat to the Chair of the FSWG, “Explanatory timelines for the development of the implementing framework for European Border and Coast Guard Regulation”, 25 May 2021.
 See also European Ombudsman, Decision in OI/5/2020/MHZ, 15 June 2021, para. 18.
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