From: Alice Taylor
Frontex Announces Recruitment Drive For Staff Without Previous Law Enforcement Experience

Frontex has announced its recruiting, but it’s not necessary for candidates to have prior experience in law enforcement. Frontex is the European Union agency that patrols the bloc’s external borders to keep illegal migration at bay.

According to a job advert posted on their website, those applying for a “basic level” standing corps position, “in principle” do not require “previous law enforcement experience.” 

 Frontex wants to recruit 200 new cadets by January 2022 who they will “extensively coach and train” over a period of 12 months. Once qualified, these individuals will wear a uniform and carry a service weapon. Their job will be to perform border and coast guarding functions at the EU’s external borders.

Requisites for the job including being “highly motivated”, “physically well prepared”, “mentally fit”, and a “team player.”.

Frontex, which is highly lauded by the EU, has been repeatedly criticized elsewhere.

In November 2020, Privacy International called out the EU for “equipping and training authorities, influencing laws, and developing mass-scale biometric databases in non-member countries” and providing “digital tools of surveillance” that could be used to “crush political and civil freedoms and undermine democracy” unless urgent reforms are made.

The report mentioned Frontex and how the tools they divulge to other countries are being used to enhance political control by tracking and surveilling populations, activists, journalists, and opposition movements.

Privacy International said that without urgent changes to the EU’s policies, this program of outsourcing could have a serious impact on freedom and democracy.  

At the beginning of 2021, Frontex was accused of illegally deporting refugees and migrants in Greece. According to an investigation, they were illegally pushing people back over the border. Multiple witnesses confirmed this practice and said they were mistreated by Frontex staff.

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) also announced it was investigating Frontex for sexual harassment, maltreatment, and illegal deportation of refugees and migrants.

During an investigation by Exit into illegal migration and people smuggling, an individual involved in the racket confirmed that these allegations were true, in his experience.

In March, the majority of internal investigations carried out by Frontex were dismissed. Eight out of 13 cases were found to have zero infringements while the other five remained unresolved.

Concerns were raised that the agency didn’t handle or investigate the situation properly and is unwilling to hold itself accountable.

Human Rights Watch has said the Frontex inquiry failed to look into “scores of other incidents that affected thousands of people” who reported they were picked up and then “abandoned in small inflatable rafts at sea.”

They noted that the report also failed to look into “violent pushbacks” at the Greek border with Turkey where Frontex staff have been deployed for over a decade.

HRW said “The EU Commission has fundamental responsibilities that cannot be shirked. It cannot tolerate the failure to address allegations of pushbacks and violence against people, including those seeking protection, at the EU’s borders.”

Then in June of this year, Amnesty International called out the EU for its “half-hearted and ineffective” attempts to hold its border guards, Frontex, accountable and for failing to condemn pushbacks and other violent practices at its borders.

The scathing report called “Greece: Violence, Lies, and Pushbacks,” looked at the situation for refugees and migrants that are still denied safety and asylum at EU borders.

Amnesty claims that those on the border are “targets of complex and coordinated operations across the country, aimed at transferring them within proximity to the Evros land border to expel them.”

The EU Commissioner responsible for Frontex and for migration in the EU, Ylva Johanssonm repeatedly refused to answer questions from Exit on the agency’s performance. Exit asked about illegal pushbacks, people smuggling, and the involvement of Frontex guards in corruption, but the question remained unanswered.

Yet, despite all of this, Albania renewed its contract with Frontex in March 2021. The news came at the time it was announced that Frontex guards would be armed in Greece by the summer. The recent job posting shows that even inexperienced cadets will be given service weapons to assist with the performance of their duties.