On 7 October 2020, Dutch Member of the European Parliament Tineke Strik of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“1. Given the current long-term absence of the Frontex fundamental rights officer (FRO), has a deputy FRO been appointed, as laid down in Regulation 2019/1896 Article 109(6), if so, what criteria and procedure were applied in the selection process, and on what date did the deputy FRO take up office?
2. If no deputy FRO has been appointed, or for the period that no (deputy) FRO was in post, how have DG Home and Frontex ensured that the duties of the FRO were and are performed, in full compliance with Regulation 2019/1896, especially Articles 109(2)(b), (i) and (j), 109.3(a), 111, and other obligations of the EU acquis, and how has Frontex complied with the criteria of these provisions for the Evros deployment since the beginning of March 2020?
3. What effect has the absence of the FRO had on the fundamental rights training of new and current staff, given the FRO’s role in this under Regulation 2019/1896 Article 62(6), and what efforts have been made by the agency and DG Home to ensure fundamental rights training is provided to new and current Frontex staff?”
On 20 January 2021, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) adopted on 10 November 2020 a decision on middle management staff and endorsed the vacancy notice for the Fundamental Rights Officer. This decision allows for the launching of the selection procedure.
The procedure for the recruitment of the deputy Fundamental Rights Officer will be initiated by the Fundamental Rights Officer once he or she will have been appointed.
During the long-term absence of the previous Fundamental Rights Officer, it was for her staff, including the so-called associated Fundamental Rights Officer, to exercise the duties assigned by Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 on the European Border and Coast Guard, with the exception of those duties requiring the exercise of powers as an appointing authority.
A Fundamental Rights Officer ad interim has been temporarily assigned to the post by the Management Board of Frontex on 23 September 2020. The Fundamental Rights Officer ad interim should publish the vacancy notices as soon as possible and start the recruitment process.
The Commission has requested Frontex to provide the elements of the reply to points 2 and 3 of the Honourable Member’s question, and will transmit the Agency’s reply to the Honourable Member as soon as possible.”
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