Fabrice Leggeri, the former head of the EU’s border police force Frontex, has reportedly been told not to attend a European Parliament committee meeting set to take place in mid-July.
According to reports, the majority of coordinators sitting on the budgetary control committee dismissed his plans to attend the discussions.
The European Parliament’s budgetary control committee oversees how EU institutions, and its agencies, allocate and spend their funds.
In May this year, the European Parliament refused to sign off on the Frontex budget in relation to a host of issues under Leggeri’s leadership. Now, Frontex faces court in the European Court in Luxembourg over repeated violations in Greece.
A number of other MEPs on the budgetary control committee have also expressed their opposition to Leggeri’s alleged attempts to invite himself to the coming meeting.
“I have protested as I think the whole thing is entirely inappropriate,” Dutch liberal Sophie In’t Veld said last week.
Leggeri purportedly wanted to attend the committee meeting on 13 July to defend himself against a report produced by the EU’s anti-fraud office, Olaf.
The Olaf probe investigated possible illegal pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers, and may potentially produce a further two reports regarding Frontex activities along the European border.
Leggeri resigned over the unfolding scandal in April, amid allegations of rule changes in the agency’s mandate.
German centre-right MEP Monika Hohlmeier, the chair of the committee, said future talks with Leggeri remained possible. The 13 July session, her office said, was not focused on past activities of Frontex, rendering Leggeri’s input unnecessary.
“It is more about the future of where the agency is heading rather than again discussing the past,” said Hohlmeier’s office, “For the future we might invite him if we have a meeting discussing the past. We always put the question to the coordinators.”
The current acting head of Frontex, Aija Kalnaja, is set to attend the 13 July session instead. The chair of the Frontex management board, Alexander Fritsch, will also be attending, as well as a senior European Commission official from DG Home.
MEP’s at the Committee on Budgetary Control will likely quiz Kalnaja and Fritsch on the management of Frontex following Leggeri’s departure, focusing on the agency’s response to allegations of breaches of fundamental rights and cases of harassment.
Earlier this year, Kalnaja told lawmakers that Frontex workers had been left “traumatised” by the agency’s activities under Leggeri.
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