Frontex: Leggeri Out Reportedly over OLAF Scrutiny as New Investigation Points to Cover Up of Pushbacks, Coast Guard Agency is ‘Arming Up’, Switzerland Sees Protests Ahead of Referendum on Continued Support
Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), Fabrice Leggeri is stepping down, reportedly over initial findings from a long-running investigation by the EU anti-fraud watchdog OLAF. A months-long investigation reveals how the agency’s own reporting system is used to cover-up pushbacks in the Aegean and its direct involvement. The expanding equipment list of Frontex will include lethal and non-lethal weapons and ammunition in 2023. In Switzerland thousands of people have gathered in demonstrations to protest “wall-building” policies symbolised by Frontex ahead of the national referendum in May to determine a significant increase of Swiss contribution to the agency.
Fabrice Leggeri who has been head of Frontex since 2015 – a period where the agency has grown exponentially and been under increasing scrutiny is reportedly stepping down. According to Politico who broke the story, Leggeri’s resignation is related to ongoing scrutiny of the agency: “Frontex has come under significant scrutiny for its alleged role in illegally turning migrants away at the EU’s borders, a practice known as pushbacks. Frontex has also faced allegations of harassment and misconduct within the agency itself… The EU anti-fraud watchdog, OLAF, has been investigating the accusations for over a year and is now preparing its final conclusions”. Leggeri’s letter of resignation published by Der Spiegel does not explain his reasons for leaving the agency.