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FRA: Published new report reviewing the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation (EU)

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) report delves into the significance of fundamental rights in European border management, emphasizing their impact on various activities such as risk analysis, training, border checks, and surveillance. The analysis revolves around the evaluation of the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation (EU) 2019/1896, presenting an opportunity to enhance fundamental rights protection at the EU's external borders. The report, contributed by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), underscores the integral role of safeguards in EU laws governing border management to uphold rights outlined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. The European Border and Coast Guard, comprising Frontex and Member State authorities, is subject to the EBCG Regulation, prompting a review to ensure the respect for fundamental rights.

FRA's involvement in border management spans 15 years, including cooperation with Frontex since 2010, offering fundamental rights expertise. The report identifies six key areas suggesting legislative adjustments to address fundamental rights gaps. The evaluation, mandated by Article 121 of the EBCG Regulation, involves inputs from both FRA and the Frontex Consultative Forum, with FRA highlighting areas where legislative changes may be necessary. The focus extends to activities that may impact absolute rights, such as the right to life and the prohibition of torture, emphasizing the need for safeguards to align with the Charter. Overall, the report aims to contribute to improving fundamental rights within the framework of European integrated border management.

In its contribution, FRA underscores six priority areas related to fundamental rights that may necessitate legislative adjustments, ensuring the European Union and its Member States fully adhere to obligations outlined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. The report emphasizes FRA's consistent identification, in recent years, of fundamental rights risks at the EU's external borders, including the right to life, prohibition of torture, and the prohibition of refoulement—absolute rights protected by Article 15 of the ECHR, even in emergency situations.

FRA acknowledges the heightened EU focus on safeguarding fundamental rights at borders, evident in policy discussions advocating for independent national border monitoring mechanisms and increased attention on swift and effective official investigations into alleged rights violations. The ongoing evaluation and review of the EBCG Regulation serve as a platform to contemplate the most effective means of enhancing the fundamental rights situation at the EU's external borders.