Le Pen is running for the European elections, the former Frontex director who tolerated a hot comeback

Le Pen is running for the European elections, the former Frontex director who tolerated a hot comeback

ParisLess than four months before the European elections, Marine Le Pen's party, the National Reunification Party, made a surprise signing: Fabrice Leggeri, director of the European border agency Frontex between 2015 and 2022, will be the third man on the list of candidates. Far-right party. Leggeri was forced to resign from his position after internal criticism, pressure from the French government, and accusations from NGOs of tolerating heated expulsions.

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Coinciding with the announcement of his inclusion on the list of the National Rally of Europeans, which is headed by the member of the European Parliament and head of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, Leggeri made it clear that he follows the party’s anti-immigration line, with harsh criticism of the role of the National Front. European Border Agency and in Brussels. “I joined Jordan Bardella's list because I want France and Europe to regain control of their borders. The European Commission has misled Frontex,” Leggeri told X (formerly Twitter).

What is not surprising is that for his first public event on Monday, the new member of the National Front chose a trip to two French cities close to the border with Italy, Menton and Saint-Laurent-de-Var, in Provence, to talk about illegal immigration. Leggeri and Bardella visited a police barracks and a border crossing. “Frontex must be redirected towards the mission of protecting our borders and our civilization,” Bardella asked, referring to one of the conspiratorial ideas of the far right, which is the danger that Muslim immigrants will end up taking over France.

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Led by Holland

Leggeri is a high-ranking French official who trained at the elite European news agency, held a senior position in the Interior Ministry and, on the orders of former minister Manuel Valls, became top director of the French government-promoted Frontex agency. It was then headed by socialist François Hollande. This was a bet by the Prime Minister at the time, his fellow Social Democrat Bernard Cazeneuve. At the time, his positions on immigration did not seem so extreme.

But as Frontex director, Legere shows another side. Under its mandate, the agency criticizes the role of Italian ships in the operation Our sea, which rescues migrants adrift near the coast of Libya. “Criminal networks have exploited the presence of ships to ensure the safety of their human smuggling,” Frontex says in its report.

Since 2016, Leggeri has been subjected to criticism – even from the European Commission – for allowing the Coast Guard to carry weapons and for criticizing Frontex's humanitarian role. His relationship with Brussels and Paris became tense.

Disciplinary record

NGOs accuse him of allowing hot returns from Greece to Turkey, and he is also criticized by workers. The opening of a disciplinary file by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) – which has not yet been resolved – is his ruling. Olaf accuses him of “disrespecting procedures, disloyalty to the European Union and mismanagement of employees.” Jordan Bardella said that Leggeri “was forced to resign, after being abandoned by Macron, because he worked against the submergence of Europe.”

Le Pen's party is now working to rescue the 55-year-old senior EU official, who was moved to a subordinate position after his controversial stint at Frontex. According to the French press, the conservative Republican Party also tried to sign him, but in the end it was the extreme right that seduced Leggeri, especially since being number three on the list guaranteed that he would become him. “We are determined to combat the flow of migrants, which the European Commission and European bureaucrats do not see as a problem, but as a project: I can attest to that,” he said in the European Parliament. Sunday magazine.

Polls of voting intentions in the European elections give a clear lead to the far-right National Front party, with 30% of the votes, ten points ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition. The addition of Fabrice Leggeri may increase the distance between him and Le Pen.

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