Sea-Watch and 21 other organizations are calling with #DefundFrontex to redirect Frontex budget to build a government-led and funded, nationwide and civil sea rescue program.
Since 2015, over 18,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean. They are the direct consequence of the European policy of closure, which finds its practical implementation with the European border management agency Frontex. While the Mediterranean has become the world’s deadliest migration route, the EU is trying to maintain the status quo by constantly increasing the budget for its border management agency. By 2027, the EU is letting Frontex’s work cost 5.6 billion euros without spending a single euro on saving human lives.
Research by Sea-Watch and Frag den Staat has shown that even a tiny portion of this year’s Frontex operational budget would be enough to implement a nationwide civil sea rescue program.
“Frontex’s priority appears to be deterrence and migration defense at all costs. The money for a life-saving and human rights-compliant practice at Europe’s borders is there. Only the political will is missing”, Doreen Johann, Sea-Watch.
The EU actively prevents legal and safe entry routes by strengthening the border police and outsourcing further border controls through cooperation with third countries. It thus de facto not only abolishes the fundamental right to asylum but bears direct responsibility for thousands of deaths at its borders. “Frontex has used the expansion of its powers primarily to undermine human rights further and put the lives of people on the move at even greater risk”, adds Doreen Johann.
Frontex solely uses its massive annual operational budget to carry out surveillance and coordination tasks but disregards its legal obligation to save human lives. Sea-Watch and 21 other supporters are therefore calling for a long-overdue change of its course. “The Frontex budget must go into saving lives, not into further violating fundamental rights. The first step towards this is a nationwide, civil sea rescue program. We need to protect people, not borders”, Doreen Johann concludes.
Background paper: ‘Defund Frontex, Build a European Search and Rescue programme’.