Commission calls for Frontex meeting over migrant pushback reports

The European Commission has called for an “urgent” board meeting of Frontex following reports that the border management agency had been involved in unlawful operations aimed at stopping migrants from reaching EU shores.

Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said Wednesday that she had asked, in coordination with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, “to convene an urgent extraordinary Frontex Management Board meeting on 10 November, to discuss alleged push-back incidents in Greece and fundamental rights protection.”

Frontex’s board is made up of member state representatives as well as two representatives of the Commission.

Last week, a group of media outlets — including investigative site Bellingcat — published detailed reporting alleging Frontex involvement in so-called pushback operations at the Greek-Turkish maritime border, in which refugees and migrants are prevented from reaching EU soil or are forced out of EU waters. Such pushbacks violate international law.

On Tuesday, Frontex announced it would launch an internal inquiry following the reports, but said that so far, “no documents or other materials have been found to substantiate any accusations of violations of the law or the Frontex Code of Conduct by deployed officers.”

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