European Court of Auditors finds irregularities in EASO and FRONTEX spending

Migration - fence in Milila 2018

(16 October 2018) As the European Council failed once again to agree the solidarity elements of the Migration Package at their last meeting on 11-12 October 2018, the EU’s Asylum Agency (EASO) is sinking in malfunction, while the EU’s Boarder Coast Guard (Frontex) finds it hard to spend its allocated budget.

The European Court of Auditors has published its annual report on EU agencies’  finances (see here). The report found a tenth of EASO’s payments relating to public procurement and recruitment – €7.7 million – to be non-compliant with EU financial rules.

In addition, Frontex cancelled appropriations carried over from the previous two years, which the report indicates as being an overestimation of its budgetary needs.   

This news comes after EASO’s executive director, José Carreira, resigned following accusations of harassment of other staff members and an investigation of the EU’s anti-fraud office (OLAF) into alleged misconduct in procurement procedures, irregularities in management of human resources and possible breaches of data protection.

EASO’s malfunction does not end here. As reported in our migration briefing (see here), EASO is also under the investigation of the European Ombudsman for its involvement in fast-track border procedure and allegations of EASO officers taking decisions contrary to the Regulation establishing the Agency. 

Instead of focusing on the solidarity elements of the package and investing in a stable human rights-based framework for asylum, with adequate national public services staffed by well-trained and well-payed workers, the EU is planning to boost the budgets of EASO and Frontex on the basis of a shaky framework based on possibly illegal pushbacks and returns (see our briefing on the most recent proposals here).