European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the EU's External Borders (FRONTEX)
Frontex, the European agency coordinating the protection of the EU's external borders, was established in 2004.
Since 2005, Frontex has coordinated patrols along the EU's external borders, both to combat organised crime and to prevent irregular immigrants from entering the Union.
The European Commission evaluated Frontex's activities in 2008 and duly proposed that the agency's mandate be revised to take account of recent developments in anti-trafficking measures, organised crime and the fight against irregular immigration.
New tasks needed to be assigned to Frontex, which would henceforth promote, coordinate and develop operational border management and be in charge of cooperation with third countries.
What was the Greens' position?
The Greens believe that Frontex must comply fully with EU values, including the rules and procedures established to protect the fundamental rights of people crossing the Union's external borders.
In our view Frontex should also fully respect the principle of non-refoulement.
Accordingly, we maintain that Frontex needs an advisory board on fundamental rights and a code of conduct. That code of conduct should contain implementing previsions and provide for monitoring by external experts and relevant NGOs.
Data protection must also be guaranteed.
This is all essential for enabling Frontex to contribute towards improving human rights standards in the context of EU border controls.
Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?
The Greens succeeded in securing majority support for its call for a code of conduct, an advisory board on fundamental rights and the creation of a Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer post.
Whenever breaches of fundamental rights are detected, the agency's operations can be partly suspended or stopped altogether.
It was agreed that future annual reports would include an evaluation of Frontex's human rights record.
Which points did the Greens lose?
The Greens failed to improve or clarify the treatment of irregular immigrants.
Joint returns operations can still be organised by Frontex without any clear monitoring of the treatment of migrants during transport but with responsibilities clearly divided between the agency and the Member States.
This situation creates continuing legal uncertainty for the migrants involved. Cooperation with third countries remains possible and is now more formalised, making it harder to ascertain whether Frontex operations respect fundamental rights.
Frontex can still exchange information with Europol, albeit only on a case-by-case basis.
While the ALDE supported the Greens on data protection provisions, the S&D and EPP voted in favour of the Frontex reform.
Procedure:Ordinary legislative procedure
Lead MEP:Simon Busuttil (EPP)
Green MEP responsible:Hélène Flautre, Franziska Keller
Staff contact:Christine Sidenius (Email)
Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?