Frontex and FRA agree to establish fundamental rights monitors

Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) have agreed to work together to establish fundamental rights monitors, design their training programme and integrate them into Frontex activities.

“The establishment of the new monitors is another step to make our activities even more transparent and promote fundamental rights throughout all our activities. We are committed to ensuring the highest standards in all that we do. And Fundamental rights are an essential component of effective border management.” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri. “The Fundamental Rights Agency is a key partner for us in this task,” he added.

“It is essential that the EU, its Member States and agencies do their utmost to protect people’s fundamental rights. Fundamental rights monitoring of operations at the land and sea borders can help ensure that rights violations do not occur. The fundamental rights monitors are an important preventive tool and FRA will provide its fundamental rights expertise to help establish them. The vacancy notices should be published as soon as possible so the monitors can be deployed,” said FRA’s director Michael O’Flaherty.

In a ceremony that took place online, the two directors signed a Service Level Agreement in the virtual presence of Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, the Chair of LIBE Committee in the European Parliament and Georgios Koumoutsakos, Alternate Minister, Greek Ministry for Migration. Other participants included high-level representatives from Germany and the European Parliament, as well as the Chair of Frontex Consultative Forum on fundamental rights.

The main tasks of the Frontex fundamental rights monitors will be to make sure all operational activities are in line with fundamental rights framework, monitor all types of operations and contribute to Frontex training activities.

The monitors will be integrated with the agency’s Fundamental Rights Office. The Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer will oversee their work and assign them to particular operations.

By the end of the year, Frontex and FRA plan to establish a team of as many as 40 fundamental rights monitors. They will undergo enhanced fundamental rights training before they take up their duties next year, when Frontex will deploy the first members of the European Border and Coast Guard standing corps.