EU: Frontex unveil Border and Coast Guard Agency unifrom
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The self-appointed euro frontier enforcers spent have spent €2.1 million on soirees to celebrate European Border and Coast Guard Day since 2015. The Agency provided a detailed breakdown of costs for its €360,500 to bring border guards from across the EU together for gala dinner six years ago. But bashes between 2016 and 2019 were subjected to censorship by officials who were keen to keep the bash shrouded in mystery.
A freedom of information request by the EU Observer website was responded to with an entirely redacted document by Frontex chiefs.
The five-page dossier, entitled “summery of costs”, revealed only the names of the venues or cities where the parties were hosted at between 2016-2019.
Last year’s bash was hosted at Hotel Arlamow, a four-star establishment with its own golf course and ski facilities in Poland.
In 2016 taxpayer-funded events were hosted in Narvil, Poland and a second in “Windsor”, believed to be a venue outside of Warsaw.
Frontex returned to Narvil in 2017 and in 2018 visited the Sheraton Sopot Hotel, on a Polish resort on the Baltic Sea.
The Sopot Hotel is described as a five-star establishment located on the waterfront just a short hop from Gdansk city centre.
Its rooms are described as “elegant” and guests can enjoy multiple restaurants and bars, as well as spa facilities while they stay at the hotel.
The event for 2015 was priced at €360,500, for 2016 €371,000, for 2017 €341,000, for 2018 €580,000 and last year €495,000, according to EU Observer.
Each figure was for a one-day event for which an exact breakdown was refused.
Four documents, entitled “offers” requested EU Observer were returned entirely redacted.
Frontex claimed disclosing details would “undermine the protection of commercial interests” of the agency.
The agency also spent €94,000 at an upmarket restaurant in Warsaw in 2015.
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It boasts a €5.6 billion budget, by far the largest of any EU body outside of Brussels.
The role of Frontex has been expanded significantly in the wake of recent migration crises into the bloc.
The agency will soon have a 10,000-strong standing corps of uniformed officials.
Transparency campaigners have bemoaned the lack of accountability afforded by Frontex, claiming it has secretive relationships with the security and defence industries.
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MEPs are set to investigate the agency’s accounts after numerous complaints.
They are threatening to cut its budget in response to alleged overspends of EU funds.
Frontex has been accused of illegal push-backs of asylum seekers and is being looked into separately by the EU’s Olaf anti-fraud squad because of reports of harassment and misconduct.
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