A special European Union committee will investigate claims that the Hellenic Coast Guard and the European Union border protection agency FRONTEX carried out pushbacks of illegal immigrants.
The investigation was requested by the representatives of EU member-states and the European Commission at a meeting overseen by Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.
The findings will be presented at the next regular meeting scheduled to take place on January 20-21.
It is recalled last month, Frontex announced that it is conducting an investigation into media reports of alleged illegal pushbacks of migrants and refugees in the Aegean.
It is noted that no documents or other materials have been found to substantiate any accusations of violations of the law or the Frontex Code of Conduct by deployed officers.
“I informed EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson that we are looking into the accusations levelled by several news organizations related to our activities at Greece’s external borders. We aim to uphold the highest border guarding standards in all of our operations and do not tolerate any violations of the fundamental rights in any of our activities,” Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri said.
“We remain committed to providing support to Greece at its external borders in line with our mandate and in the spirit of EU solidarity, in full respect of fundamental rights and international law,” he added.
In the first ten months of 2020, migration flows to Greece dropped 74% compared to flows registered in the same period in 2019.
Specifically, according to the data, some 17,000 crossings into Greece were recorded between January and October 2020.
Most of the 1,050 crossings recorded in October 2020 occurred over land, as opposed to sea crossings.