EU border chief pledges transparency, no illegal pushbacks

Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard (FRONTEX) Hans Leijtens (L) and European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson (R) address a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, 19 January 2023. [Olivier Hoslet/EPA]

The new executive director of European Union border agency Frontex pledged Thursday to ensure that illegal pushbacks of migrants trying to reach Europe wouldn't take place under his watch.

Hans Leijtens was appointed as a replacement for Fabrice Leggeri, who resigned last year following media allegations that the agency was involved in that practice. A report by EU anti-fraud watchdog OLAF into Frontex later concluded that employees from the agency were involved in covering up pushbacks of migrants from Greece to Turkey.

Pushbacks — forcing would-be refugees away from a border before they can reach a country and claim asylum — are considered violations of international refugee protection agreements, which say people shouldn't be expelled or returned to a country where their life and safety might be in danger because of their race, religion, nationality or being...

Continue reading on: