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Inappropriate statements by the Director of the European Border and Coastguard Agency

Question écrite de M. Milan ZVER - Commission européenne

Question de M. Milan ZVER,

Diffusée le 25 janvier 2024

Subject: Inappropriate statements by the Director of the European Border and Coastguard Agency

In a recent interview for Berliner Zeitung, Hans Leijtens, the Director of Frontex, said: ‘Migration is a reality. I want to put a stop to “alarmism” in the debate about replacing indigenous people with Afro- Arab armies. Nothing can stop people from crossing a border – no wall, no fence, no sea, no river.’

The Director’s statements may well reflect his values and beliefs, but they stand in stark contrast to his basic task of protecting Europe’s borders against illegal crossings and crime. Years ago, when we set up Frontex, and later when we decided to increase the agency’s staff numbers owing to increased migration pressure on Europe’s borders, we did not imagine that it could be led by someone who is convinced that there is no tool to deter migrants from crossing the borders illegally.

Can the Commission therefore answer the following question:

As guardian of the Treaties, does it consider Mr Leijtens to be suitable to manage the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, whose main task is to assist Member States in managing their external borders, preventing irregular migration and fighting cross-border crime?

Submitted:26.1.2024

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 8 avril 2024

Answer given by Ms Johansson on behalf of the European Commission (9 April 2024)

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) performs the key role of providing Member States the technical and operational support they need in order to manage the external borders of the EU safely and effectively, in full compliance with international law and EU law, including fundamental rights as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

The Executive Director of Frontex, Hans Leijtens, was appointed in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 107 of Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 (the ‘EBCG Regulation’) (1).

This Article requires that the Executive Director of Frontex be appointed on the grounds of ‘merit and documented high-level administrative and management skills, including professional experience in the management of the external borders and return’.

This procedure requires that the selected candidates make a statement before the competent committee of the European Parliament and answer questions put by its or their members.

Following such statements, the Parliament adopts an opinion setting out its views and may indicate a preferred candidate. The final decision on the appointment lies with the Agency’s Management Board.

In December 2022, the Parliament’s Conference of Presidents endorsed the recommendation of the Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs that Mr Leijtens be appointed as Executive Director of Frontex, following a hearing held on 30 November 2022.

The Agency’s Management Board, of which the Commission is a member, decided on 20 December 2022 to appoint Mr Leijtens as Executive Director of Frontex.

The Executive Director of Frontex has the right to form and voice his opinion, as provided for in the Staff Regulation s (2), in particular Articles 11 and 12 on duties of loyalty and discretion as well as of Article 17a(1) on the freedom of expression.

1 ∙ ⸱ Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 on the European Border and Coast Guard.

2 ∙ ⸱ Regulation No 31 (EEC), 11 (EAEC), laying down the Staff Regulations of Officials and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European

Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community.



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