EP committee asks for part of Frontex budget to be frozen

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


The Budget Control Committee recommended signing off on the expenses of the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency, but asked for part of the budget to be frozen.

MEPs on the committee recommended granting so-called discharge to Frontex for management of its 2019 budget, yet to be approved by the full House.

While recognising that Frontex has taken steps to remedy the shortcomings identified in the first EP discharge report in spring this year, and with reference to the conclusions of the EP Frontex Scrutiny Working Group, MEPs still highlight outstanding issues. There are unresolved issues in recruitment and financial management, as well as in its operations in fighting illegal immigration and cross-border crime, and MEPs ask for further improvements.

For this reason, MEPs in the report, finally adopted by 27 votes to 2 against and 1 abstention, ask for part of the Frontex 2022 budget to be frozen, to make it available only once the agency has fulfilled a number of specific conditions. These include recruiting 20 missing fundamental rights monitors and three deputy executive directors who are sufficiently qualified to fill these positions, setting up a mechanism for reporting serious incidents on the EU’s external borders and a functioning fundamental rights monitoring system.

Council discharge

By 28 votes, 1 against and 1 abstention, Budgetary Control Committee MEPs also recommended that discharge for the year 2019 should not be granted to the European Council and Council. In their remarks, MEPs regret that the Council “continues to be silent” and does not cooperate with the Parliament by providing the necessary information as requested.

The Parliament has been issuing negative decisions regarding Council’s discharge for each consecutive year since 2009.

Next steps

The Budgets Committee will vote on Tuesday on its position on the 2022 EU budget. One of the compromise amendments sets the amount of next year’s Frontex budget to be put in reserve at €90,000,000, which constitutes around 12% of Frontex’s proposed draft budget for 2022 (€757,793,708).

It will be voted on by the full House during Parliament’s 18-21 October session, before the negotiations with the Council, with the aim of reaching an agreement on next year’s EU budget by 15 November. The decision on whether to grant discharge to Frontex may also be put to the vote during the same plenary session.

Background

In April 2021, Parliament postponed the discharge decision for Frontex, asking for additional clarifications and correction measures as to how the agency exercises its operations and manages its finances, recruitment and procurement procedures.

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