The Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) met yesterday and today for its 82nd meeting. Among other topics, the Board followed up on the fundamental-rights related discussions from its extraordinary meeting held on 10 November 2020 and in particular on the allegations of so-called pushbacks in the Eastern Mediterranean recently reported in the media. These discussions were held in the presence of the Agency’s Fundamental Rights Officer, the Agency’s Consultative Forum, the Fundamental Rights Agency and an expert from the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament.
The Executive Director reported on the questions received from several members of the Board and provided some preliminary replies. On request by the European Commission, the Board will hold a further extraordinary meeting within the next two weeks in order to consider in more detail the replies provided by the Agency. As concluded in the extraordinary meeting of 10 November, the Management Board adopted the mandate of its dedicated working group. It shall support the Board in its conduction of inquiries in relation to the allegations of so-called alleged pushbacks in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2020 but also contribute to the interpretation of some provisions of Union regulations related to operational activities at sea and to discuss possible operational responses to situations related to “hybrid threats” to Member States’ national security at the external borders which may arise in the context of maritime operations of the Agency. The Working Group was requested to report to the Management Board at the 83rd meeting of the Management Board on 20-21 January 2021.
The Management Board was also updated on the state of play for the preparation of the EBCG standing corps for their first deployment as of 1 January 2021. The Chair called on the Agency and Member States to make all the efforts to complete their contributions to the standing corps in accordance with the capacities indicated in Annex 1 of the EBCG Regulation for year 2021.