BETA


Events

2016/04/05
   Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2015/12/02
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2015/12/02
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2015/12/02
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted by 488 votes to 114, with 33 abstentions, a resolution on the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in own-initiative inquiry OI/5/2012/BEH-MHZ concerning Frontex.

Parliament recalled that Frontex, like any other EU institution, body, office or agency, has to comply in its activities with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Against this background, in 2012 the European Ombudsman opened an own-initiative inquiry into the implementation by Frontex of its fundamental rights obligations. It further issued a Special Report, in which the implementation of an individual complaints mechanism was insisted upon .

Frontex's operational cooperation with the competent authorities of partner countries is conducted through working arrangements which are not legally binding and fall outside the scope of international law, and whose practical implementation is not to be regarded as fulfilment of international obligations by Frontex and the EU. This situation constitutes an element of legal uncertainty which may be seen as in contradiction with Frontex's human rights obligations.

Frontex and the Member States have shared but distinct responsibilities regarding the actions of the officers deployed in Frontex operations and pilot project. Most participants in Frontex operations are guest officers sent by Member States other than that hosting the Frontex operation, in support of that operation.

Parliament noted that Frontex has already established an incident reporting system which involves internal complaints received from Frontex staff and guest officers, and consequently does not cater for direct complaints by individuals claiming a breach of their fundamental rights.

Therefore, Parliament considered that Frontex should set up an individual complaints mechanism.

Ombudsman report : Parliament welcomed the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in the framework of the own-initiative inquiry concerning Frontex and supported the recommendation by the European Ombudsman that Frontex should deal with individual complaints regarding infringements of fundamental rights in the course of its operations and should provide adequate administrative support for that purpose.

It expressed deep concern at the legal vacuum that surrounds the deployment of third-country officers during joint return operations. It believed that in view of the ever-growing humanitarian and legal challenges at the EU’s external borders and the strengthening of Frontex operations there is a need for a mechanism that is capable of processing individual complaints about alleged breaches of fundamental rights occurring in the course of Frontex operations or cooperation with third countries, thus becoming a first-instance body for complaints. Members noted that such a mechanism would be compliant with EU law and the principle of good administration and would reinforce the effective implementation of the Agency’s fundamental rights strategy. They stressed that this lack of transparency applies in particular in the case of Frontex's working arrangements, over which Parliament cannot exercise democratic scrutiny.

Structure of the individual complaints mechanism : in general, Parliament considered that it is a legitimate expectation to believe that the actions of those involved in Frontex operations are attributable to Frontex and more generally to the EU. It stressed the need for an official central structure within Frontex for the processing of individual complaints and recommended that the office of the Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer should play a crucial role in handling complaints (notably in terms of checking the admissibility of complaints).

Lodging and admissibility of complaints : Members took the view that persons who consider they have been harmed by border guards wearing the Frontex emblem should have the right to submit a complaint. Frontex is urged to guarantee full confidentiality. They acknowledged that safeguards are needed to prevent misuse of the complaints mechanism and that anonymous complaints should not be accepted .

However, this does not exclude complaints submitted by third parties acting in good faith in the interest of a complainant.

Parliament suggested that only complaints based on violations of fundamental rights as protected by EU law should be admitted . It also emphasised the need for clear criteria for the admissibility of complaints and recommended the creation of a standardised complaint form which should be accessible in languages that migrants and asylum seekers understand or may be reasonably supposed to understand and should available both in smartphone-compatible electronic format on its website. Frontex should set a reasonable time limit for the submission of a complaint.

Complaints against guest officers : Parliament acknowledged that potential complaints may refer to the conduct of guest officers who fall under the particular authority of a Member State but wear the Frontex emblem. It considered it crucial to involve national ombudsmen or any other relevant bodies competent for fundamental rights that are empowered to investigate national authorities and officials, given that the Fundamental Rights Officer does not have the right to do so.

Members recalled that the Frontex Disciplinary Procedure may also apply to seconded guest officers and seconded national experts if the relevant Member State agrees. They also considered that the possibility of withdrawing financial support from Member States or the suspension of a Member State from joint operations in case of serious fundamental rights violations should be explored.

Parliament also recommends that:

gender-based training should be mandatory for both Frontex staff and guest officers before joining a Frontex operation, notably in order to raise awareness concerning gender-based violence; Frontex cooperate closely not only with the national border authorities but also with the national human rights bodies.

General considerations : lastly, the resolution noted the general conditions as regards the complaints mechanism. Members insisted therefore on creating effective information campaigns and a well-structured admissibility check on complaints.

Furthermore, Parliament insisted on the need for Frontex to:

be adequately equipped and staffed to handle the complaints received including the necessary additional resources for this purpose; inform the European Parliament about the use of funds by Frontex; establish close cooperation with the European Ombudsmas in order to improve the protection of individuals from possible acts of maladministration regarding the activities of Frontex; ensure special protection of unaccompanied minors, women who are victims of gender-based persecution, LGBTI persons and other vulnerable groups; provide publicly accessible information on the complaints mechanism; include provisions on the individual complaints mechanism in the forthcoming review of the Frontex Regulation; ensure that the use of funds by Frontex is regularly reported on to Parliament and made public on the Frontex website.

It should be noted that a motion for a replacement resolution, tabled by the ENF group, was rejected in plenary.

Documents
2015/12/02
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2015/11/26
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Details

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Petitions adopted a joint own-initiative report by Roberta METSOLA (EPP, MT) and Ska KELLER (Greens/EFA, DE) on the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in own-initiative inquiry OI/5/2012/BEH-MHZ concerning Frontex.

The report was adopted in line with Article 55 of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament on the procedure with joint committee meetings.

Parliament recalled that Frontex, like any other EU institution, body, office or agency, has to comply in its activities with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Against this background, in 2012 the European Ombudsman opened an own-initiative inquiry into the implementation by Frontex of its fundamental rights obligations. It further issued a Special Report, in which the implementation of an individual complaints mechanism was insisted upon .

Frontex's operational cooperation with the competent authorities of partner countries is conducted through working arrangements which are not legally binding and fall outside the scope of international law, and whose practical implementation is not to be regarded as fulfilment of international obligations by Frontex and the EU. This situation constitutes an element of legal uncertainty which may be seen as in contradiction with Frontex's human rights obligations.

Frontex and the Member States have shared but distinct responsibilities regarding the actions of the officers deployed in Frontex operations and pilot project. Most participants in Frontex operations are guest officers sent by Member States other than that hosting the Frontex operation, in support of that operation.

Members noted that Frontex has already established an incident reporting system which involves internal complaints received from Frontex staff and guest officers, and consequently does not cater for direct complaints by individuals claiming a breach of their fundamental rights.

Therefore, Member considered that Frontex should set up an individual complaints mechanism.

Ombudsman report : Members welcome the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in the framework of the own-initiative inquiry concerning Frontex and supported the recommendation by the European Ombudsman that Frontex should deal with individual complaints regarding infringements of fundamental rights in the course of its operations and should provide adequate administrative support for that purpose.

They expressed deep concern at the legal vacuum that surrounds the deployment of third-country officers during joint return operations. They believed that in view of the ever-growing humanitarian and legal challenges at the EU’s external borders and the strengthening of Frontex operations there is a need for a mechanism that is capable of processing individual complaints about alleged breaches of fundamental rights occurring in the course of Frontex operations or cooperation with third countries, thus becoming a first-instance body for complaints. They noted that such a mechanism would be compliant with EU law and the principle of good administration and would reinforce the effective implementation of the Agency’s fundamental rights strategy.

Structure of the individual complaints mechanism : in general, Members considered that it is a legitimate expectation to believe that the actions of those involved in Frontex operations are attributable to Frontex and more generally to the EU. They stressed the need for an official central structure within Frontex for the processing of individual complaints and recommended that the office of the Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer should play a crucial role in handling complaints (notably in terms of checking the admissibility of complaints).

Lodging and admissibility of complaints : Members took the view that persons who consider they have been harmed by border guards wearing the Frontex emblem should have the right to submit a complaint. Frontex is urged to guarantee full confidentiality. They acknowledged that safeguards are needed to prevent misuse of the complaints mechanism and that anonymous complaints should not be accepted .

However, this does not exclude complaints submitted by third parties acting in good faith in the interest of a complainant.

They suggested that only complaints based on violations of fundamental rights as protected by EU law should be admitted .

Members emphasised the need for clear criteria for the admissibility of complaints and recommended the creation of a standardised complaint form which should be accessible in languages that migrants and asylum seekers understand and should available both in smartphone-compatible electronic format on its website. Frontex should set a reasonable time limit for the submission of a complaint.

Complaints against guest officers : Members acknowledged that potential complaints may refer to the conduct of guest officers who fall under the particular authority of a Member State but wear the Frontex emblem. They considered it crucial to involve national ombudsmen or any other relevant bodies competent for fundamental rights that are empowered to investigate national authorities and officials, given that the Fundamental Rights Officer does not have the right to do so.

Members recalled that the Frontex Disciplinary Procedure may also apply to seconded guest officers and seconded national experts if the relevant Member State agrees. They also considered that the possibility of withdrawing financial support from Member States or the suspension of a Member State from joint operations in case of serious fundamental rights violations should be explored.

General considerations : lastly, the report noted the general conditions as regards the complaints mechanism. Members insisted therefore on creating effective information campaigns and a well-structured admissibility check on complaints.

Members insisted on the need for Frontex to:

be adequately equipped and staffed to handle the complaints received including the necessary additional resources for this purpose; inform the European Parliament about the use of funds by Frontex; establish close cooperation with the European Ombudsmas in order to improve the protection of individuals from possible acts of maladministration regarding the activities of Frontex; ensure special protection of unaccompanied minors, women who are victims of gender-based persecution, LGBTI persons and other vulnerable groups; provide publicly accessible information on the complaints mechanism; include provisions on the individual complaints mechanism in the forthcoming review of the Frontex Regulation.

Documents
2015/11/23
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2015/11/20
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2015/10/02
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2015/03/12
   EP - Referral to joint committee announced in Parliament
2015/03/11
   EP - Responsible Committee
2015/03/11
   EP - Responsible Committee
2014/12/17
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading

Documents

Activities

Votes

A8-0343/2015 - Roberta Metsola et Ska Keller - Am 1

2015/12/02 Outcome: -: 565, +: 70, 0: 4
DK LU EE CY MT SI LV AT HR IE SK FI LT EL BE SE CZ HU BG NL PT FR RO PL GB IT ES DE
Total
7
5
5
5
6
7
7
16
11
9
12
13
11
19
18
18
18
18
16
25
19
53
26
47
58
61
47
82
icon: ENF ENF
29

Belgium ENF

For (1)

1

Romania ENF

1

Poland ENF

For (1)

1

United Kingdom ENF

For (1)

1
icon: NI NI
9

Hungary NI

For (1)

1

France NI

For (1)

Abstain (1)

2

Poland NI

1

United Kingdom NI

Against (1)

1

Germany NI

For (1)

1
icon: EFDD EFDD
34

Lithuania EFDD

Against (1)

1

Sweden EFDD

2

Czechia EFDD

For (1)

1

France EFDD

1

Poland EFDD

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
43

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2

Ireland GUE/NGL

3

Finland GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Sweden GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Czechia GUE/NGL

2

Netherlands GUE/NGL

3

Portugal GUE/NGL

3

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Italy GUE/NGL

2
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
41

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

Against (1)

1

Estonia Verts/ALE

Against (1)

1

Slovenia Verts/ALE

Against (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

Against (1)

1

Austria Verts/ALE

Against (2)

2

Croatia Verts/ALE

Against (1)

1

Finland Verts/ALE

Against (1)

1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

Against (1)

1

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

Hungary Verts/ALE

Against (1)

1

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

France Verts/ALE

3

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

6
icon: ECR ECR
63

Denmark ECR

For (1)

Against (1)

3

Latvia ECR

Against (1)

1

Croatia ECR

Against (1)

1

Slovakia ECR

3

Finland ECR

2

Lithuania ECR

Against (1)

1

Greece ECR

Against (1)

1

Czechia ECR

2

Bulgaria ECR

Against (1)

1

Netherlands ECR

2

Romania ECR

Against (1)

1
icon: ALDE ALDE
61

Denmark ALDE

Against (1)

1

Luxembourg ALDE

Against (1)

1

Estonia ALDE

Against (2)

2

Slovenia ALDE

Against (1)

1

Austria ALDE

Against (1)

1

Croatia ALDE

2

Ireland ALDE

Against (1)

1

Portugal ALDE

2

Romania ALDE

3

United Kingdom ALDE

Against (1)

1

Germany ALDE

3
icon: S&D S&D
168
3

Luxembourg S&D

Against (1)

1

Estonia S&D

Against (1)

1

Cyprus S&D

2

Malta S&D

3

Latvia S&D

Against (1)

1

Croatia S&D

For (1)

Against (1)

2

Ireland S&D

Against (1)

1

Slovakia S&D

3

Finland S&D

2

Lithuania S&D

2

Belgium S&D

3

Czechia S&D

3

Netherlands S&D

3
icon: PPE PPE
191

Luxembourg PPE

Against (2)

2

Estonia PPE

Against (1)

1

Cyprus PPE

Against (1)

1

Lithuania PPE

2

A8-0343/2015 - Roberta Metsola et Ska Keller - résolution (LIBE, PETI)

2015/12/02 Outcome: +: 488, -: 114, 0: 33
DE IT ES RO FR PT BG SE HU NL BE EL LT CZ FI HR AT SI IE PL MT SK LU EE LV DK CY GB
Total
82
59
47
26
53
19
16
18
15
25
18
19
11
18
13
11
16
7
9
48
6
12
5
5
7
7
5
58
icon: PPE PPE
187
2

Luxembourg PPE

2

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1

Cyprus PPE

1
icon: S&D S&D
168

Netherlands S&D

3

Belgium S&D

3

Czechia S&D

Abstain (1)

3

Croatia S&D

2

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Malta S&D

3
3

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Estonia S&D

For (1)

1

Latvia S&D

1

Cyprus S&D

2
icon: ALDE ALDE
61

Romania ALDE

3

Croatia ALDE

2

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Estonia ALDE

2

Denmark ALDE

For (1)

1

United Kingdom ALDE

1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
41

France Verts/ALE

3

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

Hungary Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Lithuania Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Croatia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Austria Verts/ALE

2

Slovenia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Estonia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
43

Germany GUE/NGL

5

Italy GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

2

France GUE/NGL

Against (1)

Abstain (1)

4

Portugal GUE/NGL

3

Sweden GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

1

Netherlands GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

3

Czechia GUE/NGL

2

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Ireland GUE/NGL

3

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

1
icon: EFDD EFDD
34

France EFDD

1

Sweden EFDD

2

Lithuania EFDD

For (1)

1

Czechia EFDD

Against (1)

1

Poland EFDD

1
icon: NI NI
9

Germany NI

Against (1)

1

France NI

2

Hungary NI

Against (1)

1

Poland NI

Against (1)

1

United Kingdom NI

Against (1)

1
icon: ENF ENF
29

Romania ENF

Against (1)

1

Netherlands ENF

4

Belgium ENF

Against (1)

1

Poland ENF

Against (1)

1

United Kingdom ENF

Against (1)

1
icon: ECR ECR
63

Romania ECR

For (1)

1

Bulgaria ECR

Against (1)

1

Netherlands ECR

2

Greece ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Lithuania ECR

Against (1)

1

Czechia ECR

2

Finland ECR

2

Croatia ECR

Against (1)

1

Latvia ECR

Against (1)

1
AmendmentsDossier
200 2014/2215(INI)
2015/11/11 LIBE, PETI 200 amendments...
source: 569.809

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

activities
  • date: 2014-12-17T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP shadows: group: EPP name: NAGY József group: S&D name: DALLI Miriam group: S&D name: MARTIN Edouard group: ECR name: KIRKHOPE Timothy group: ECR name: MARIAS Notis group: ALDE name: MLINAR Angelika group: ALDE name: TOOM Yana group: GUE/NGL name: ALBIOL GUZMÁN Marina group: GUE/NGL name: BJÖRK Malin group: Verts/ALE name: VALERO Bodil group: EFD name: EVI Eleonora group: EFD name: FERRARA Laura responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2015-03-11T00:00:00 2015-03-11T00:00:00 committee_full: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: EPP name: METSOLA Roberta group: Verts/ALE name: KELLER Ska body: EP shadows: group: EPP name: NAGY József group: S&D name: DALLI Miriam group: S&D name: MARTIN Edouard group: ECR name: KIRKHOPE Timothy group: ECR name: MARIAS Notis group: ALDE name: MLINAR Angelika group: ALDE name: TOOM Yana group: GUE/NGL name: ALBIOL GUZMÁN Marina group: GUE/NGL name: BJÖRK Malin group: Verts/ALE name: VALERO Bodil group: EFD name: EVI Eleonora group: EFD name: FERRARA Laura responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2015-03-11T00:00:00 2015-03-11T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: EPP name: METSOLA Roberta group: Verts/ALE name: KELLER Ska body: EP responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2014-11-11T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: EPP name: METSOLA Roberta
  • date: 2015-03-12T00:00:00 body: EP type: Referral to joint committee announced in Parliament
  • date: 2015-11-23T00:00:00 body: EP type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP shadows: group: EPP name: NAGY József group: S&D name: DALLI Miriam group: S&D name: MARTIN Edouard group: ECR name: KIRKHOPE Timothy group: ECR name: MARIAS Notis group: ALDE name: MLINAR Angelika group: ALDE name: TOOM Yana group: GUE/NGL name: ALBIOL GUZMÁN Marina group: GUE/NGL name: BJÖRK Malin group: Verts/ALE name: VALERO Bodil group: EFD name: EVI Eleonora group: EFD name: FERRARA Laura responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2015-03-11T00:00:00 2015-03-11T00:00:00 committee_full: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: EPP name: METSOLA Roberta group: Verts/ALE name: KELLER Ska body: EP shadows: group: EPP name: NAGY József group: S&D name: DALLI Miriam group: S&D name: MARTIN Edouard group: ECR name: KIRKHOPE Timothy group: ECR name: MARIAS Notis group: ALDE name: MLINAR Angelika group: ALDE name: TOOM Yana group: GUE/NGL name: ALBIOL GUZMÁN Marina group: GUE/NGL name: BJÖRK Malin group: Verts/ALE name: VALERO Bodil group: EFD name: EVI Eleonora group: EFD name: FERRARA Laura responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2015-03-11T00:00:00 2015-03-11T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: EPP name: METSOLA Roberta group: Verts/ALE name: KELLER Ska body: EP responsible: True committee: PETI date: 2014-11-11T00:00:00 committee_full: Petitions rapporteur: group: EPP name: METSOLA Roberta
  • date: 2015-11-26T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2015-0343&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading title: A8-0343/2015 body: EP type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date: 2015-12-02T00:00:00 body: EP type: Debate in Parliament docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2015-0422 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T8-0422/2015
commission
  • body: EC dg: Secretariat-General commissioner: TIMMERMANS Frans
committees/0
type
Responsible Committee
body
EP
associated
False
committee_full
Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
committee
LIBE
date
rapporteur
shadows
committees/0
body
EP
shadows
responsible
True
committee
LIBE
date
committee_full
Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
rapporteur
committees/1
type
Responsible Committee
body
EP
associated
False
committee_full
Petitions
committee
PETI
date
rapporteur
shadows
committees/1
body
EP
shadows
responsible
True
committee
PETI
date
committee_full
Petitions
rapporteur
committees/2
body
EP
responsible
True
committee
PETI
date
2014-11-11T00:00:00
committee_full
Petitions
rapporteur
group: EPP name: METSOLA Roberta
docs
  • date: 2015-10-02T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE569.466 title: PE569.466 type: Committee draft report body: EP
  • date: 2015-11-20T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE569.809 title: PE569.809 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
  • date: 2016-04-05T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=26444&j=0&l=en title: SP(2016)115 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
events
  • date: 2014-12-17T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2015-03-12T00:00:00 type: Referral to joint committee announced in Parliament body: EP
  • date: 2015-11-23T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2015-11-26T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2015-0343&language=EN title: A8-0343/2015 summary: The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Petitions adopted a joint own-initiative report by Roberta METSOLA (EPP, MT) and Ska KELLER (Greens/EFA, DE) on the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in own-initiative inquiry OI/5/2012/BEH-MHZ concerning Frontex. The report was adopted in line with Article 55 of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament on the procedure with joint committee meetings. Parliament recalled that Frontex, like any other EU institution, body, office or agency, has to comply in its activities with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Against this background, in 2012 the European Ombudsman opened an own-initiative inquiry into the implementation by Frontex of its fundamental rights obligations. It further issued a Special Report, in which the implementation of an individual complaints mechanism was insisted upon . Frontex's operational cooperation with the competent authorities of partner countries is conducted through working arrangements which are not legally binding and fall outside the scope of international law, and whose practical implementation is not to be regarded as fulfilment of international obligations by Frontex and the EU. This situation constitutes an element of legal uncertainty which may be seen as in contradiction with Frontex's human rights obligations. Frontex and the Member States have shared but distinct responsibilities regarding the actions of the officers deployed in Frontex operations and pilot project. Most participants in Frontex operations are guest officers sent by Member States other than that hosting the Frontex operation, in support of that operation. Members noted that Frontex has already established an incident reporting system which involves internal complaints received from Frontex staff and guest officers, and consequently does not cater for direct complaints by individuals claiming a breach of their fundamental rights. Therefore, Member considered that Frontex should set up an individual complaints mechanism. Ombudsman report : Members welcome the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in the framework of the own-initiative inquiry concerning Frontex and supported the recommendation by the European Ombudsman that Frontex should deal with individual complaints regarding infringements of fundamental rights in the course of its operations and should provide adequate administrative support for that purpose. They expressed deep concern at the legal vacuum that surrounds the deployment of third-country officers during joint return operations. They believed that in view of the ever-growing humanitarian and legal challenges at the EU’s external borders and the strengthening of Frontex operations there is a need for a mechanism that is capable of processing individual complaints about alleged breaches of fundamental rights occurring in the course of Frontex operations or cooperation with third countries, thus becoming a first-instance body for complaints. They noted that such a mechanism would be compliant with EU law and the principle of good administration and would reinforce the effective implementation of the Agency’s fundamental rights strategy. Structure of the individual complaints mechanism : in general, Members considered that it is a legitimate expectation to believe that the actions of those involved in Frontex operations are attributable to Frontex and more generally to the EU. They stressed the need for an official central structure within Frontex for the processing of individual complaints and recommended that the office of the Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer should play a crucial role in handling complaints (notably in terms of checking the admissibility of complaints). Lodging and admissibility of complaints : Members took the view that persons who consider they have been harmed by border guards wearing the Frontex emblem should have the right to submit a complaint. Frontex is urged to guarantee full confidentiality. They acknowledged that safeguards are needed to prevent misuse of the complaints mechanism and that anonymous complaints should not be accepted . However, this does not exclude complaints submitted by third parties acting in good faith in the interest of a complainant. They suggested that only complaints based on violations of fundamental rights as protected by EU law should be admitted . Members emphasised the need for clear criteria for the admissibility of complaints and recommended the creation of a standardised complaint form which should be accessible in languages that migrants and asylum seekers understand and should available both in smartphone-compatible electronic format on its website. Frontex should set a reasonable time limit for the submission of a complaint. Complaints against guest officers : Members acknowledged that potential complaints may refer to the conduct of guest officers who fall under the particular authority of a Member State but wear the Frontex emblem. They considered it crucial to involve national ombudsmen or any other relevant bodies competent for fundamental rights that are empowered to investigate national authorities and officials, given that the Fundamental Rights Officer does not have the right to do so. Members recalled that the Frontex Disciplinary Procedure may also apply to seconded guest officers and seconded national experts if the relevant Member State agrees. They also considered that the possibility of withdrawing financial support from Member States or the suspension of a Member State from joint operations in case of serious fundamental rights violations should be explored. General considerations : lastly, the report noted the general conditions as regards the complaints mechanism. Members insisted therefore on creating effective information campaigns and a well-structured admissibility check on complaints. Members insisted on the need for Frontex to: be adequately equipped and staffed to handle the complaints received including the necessary additional resources for this purpose; inform the European Parliament about the use of funds by Frontex; establish close cooperation with the European Ombudsmas in order to improve the protection of individuals from possible acts of maladministration regarding the activities of Frontex; ensure special protection of unaccompanied minors, women who are victims of gender-based persecution, LGBTI persons and other vulnerable groups; provide publicly accessible information on the complaints mechanism; include provisions on the individual complaints mechanism in the forthcoming review of the Frontex Regulation.
  • date: 2015-12-02T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=26444&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
  • date: 2015-12-02T00:00:00 type: Debate in Parliament body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20151202&type=CRE title: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2015-12-02T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2015-0422 title: T8-0422/2015 summary: The European Parliament adopted by 488 votes to 114, with 33 abstentions, a resolution on the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in own-initiative inquiry OI/5/2012/BEH-MHZ concerning Frontex. Parliament recalled that Frontex, like any other EU institution, body, office or agency, has to comply in its activities with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Against this background, in 2012 the European Ombudsman opened an own-initiative inquiry into the implementation by Frontex of its fundamental rights obligations. It further issued a Special Report, in which the implementation of an individual complaints mechanism was insisted upon . Frontex's operational cooperation with the competent authorities of partner countries is conducted through working arrangements which are not legally binding and fall outside the scope of international law, and whose practical implementation is not to be regarded as fulfilment of international obligations by Frontex and the EU. This situation constitutes an element of legal uncertainty which may be seen as in contradiction with Frontex's human rights obligations. Frontex and the Member States have shared but distinct responsibilities regarding the actions of the officers deployed in Frontex operations and pilot project. Most participants in Frontex operations are guest officers sent by Member States other than that hosting the Frontex operation, in support of that operation. Parliament noted that Frontex has already established an incident reporting system which involves internal complaints received from Frontex staff and guest officers, and consequently does not cater for direct complaints by individuals claiming a breach of their fundamental rights. Therefore, Parliament considered that Frontex should set up an individual complaints mechanism. Ombudsman report : Parliament welcomed the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in the framework of the own-initiative inquiry concerning Frontex and supported the recommendation by the European Ombudsman that Frontex should deal with individual complaints regarding infringements of fundamental rights in the course of its operations and should provide adequate administrative support for that purpose. It expressed deep concern at the legal vacuum that surrounds the deployment of third-country officers during joint return operations. It believed that in view of the ever-growing humanitarian and legal challenges at the EU’s external borders and the strengthening of Frontex operations there is a need for a mechanism that is capable of processing individual complaints about alleged breaches of fundamental rights occurring in the course of Frontex operations or cooperation with third countries, thus becoming a first-instance body for complaints. Members noted that such a mechanism would be compliant with EU law and the principle of good administration and would reinforce the effective implementation of the Agency’s fundamental rights strategy. They stressed that this lack of transparency applies in particular in the case of Frontex's working arrangements, over which Parliament cannot exercise democratic scrutiny. Structure of the individual complaints mechanism : in general, Parliament considered that it is a legitimate expectation to believe that the actions of those involved in Frontex operations are attributable to Frontex and more generally to the EU. It stressed the need for an official central structure within Frontex for the processing of individual complaints and recommended that the office of the Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer should play a crucial role in handling complaints (notably in terms of checking the admissibility of complaints). Lodging and admissibility of complaints : Members took the view that persons who consider they have been harmed by border guards wearing the Frontex emblem should have the right to submit a complaint. Frontex is urged to guarantee full confidentiality. They acknowledged that safeguards are needed to prevent misuse of the complaints mechanism and that anonymous complaints should not be accepted . However, this does not exclude complaints submitted by third parties acting in good faith in the interest of a complainant. Parliament suggested that only complaints based on violations of fundamental rights as protected by EU law should be admitted . It also emphasised the need for clear criteria for the admissibility of complaints and recommended the creation of a standardised complaint form which should be accessible in languages that migrants and asylum seekers understand or may be reasonably supposed to understand and should available both in smartphone-compatible electronic format on its website. Frontex should set a reasonable time limit for the submission of a complaint. Complaints against guest officers : Parliament acknowledged that potential complaints may refer to the conduct of guest officers who fall under the particular authority of a Member State but wear the Frontex emblem. It considered it crucial to involve national ombudsmen or any other relevant bodies competent for fundamental rights that are empowered to investigate national authorities and officials, given that the Fundamental Rights Officer does not have the right to do so. Members recalled that the Frontex Disciplinary Procedure may also apply to seconded guest officers and seconded national experts if the relevant Member State agrees. They also considered that the possibility of withdrawing financial support from Member States or the suspension of a Member State from joint operations in case of serious fundamental rights violations should be explored. Parliament also recommends that: gender-based training should be mandatory for both Frontex staff and guest officers before joining a Frontex operation, notably in order to raise awareness concerning gender-based violence; Frontex cooperate closely not only with the national border authorities but also with the national human rights bodies. General considerations : lastly, the resolution noted the general conditions as regards the complaints mechanism. Members insisted therefore on creating effective information campaigns and a well-structured admissibility check on complaints. Furthermore, Parliament insisted on the need for Frontex to: be adequately equipped and staffed to handle the complaints received including the necessary additional resources for this purpose; inform the European Parliament about the use of funds by Frontex; establish close cooperation with the European Ombudsmas in order to improve the protection of individuals from possible acts of maladministration regarding the activities of Frontex; ensure special protection of unaccompanied minors, women who are victims of gender-based persecution, LGBTI persons and other vulnerable groups; provide publicly accessible information on the complaints mechanism; include provisions on the individual complaints mechanism in the forthcoming review of the Frontex Regulation; ensure that the use of funds by Frontex is regularly reported on to Parliament and made public on the Frontex website. It should be noted that a motion for a replacement resolution, tabled by the ENF group, was rejected in plenary.
  • date: 2015-12-02T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
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