The EU border protection agency Frontex apparently wants to solve the legal problems in the procurement of firearms with a trick. The shooting device is now to be bought as “technical equipment”, as Frontex boss Fabrice Leggeri recently told the EU Commission in a letter.
Since the term was not defined in more detail in the Frontex regulation, he saw nothing that would contradict the classification of weapons as “technical equipment”, said Leggeri. In addition, the Frontex regulation, as an EU legal act, is above national law – and thus also above Polish law, as the Frenchman notes with good reason.
In recent months, internal EU documents have repeatedly warned that the Frontex regulation and the agreement with the Polish state on the headquarters in Warsaw did not provide a legal basis for the purchase and transport of firearms in Poland. The use of non-fatal force by Frontex employees, for example with batons or pepper spray, is also legally problematic.
»Weapons are not ‘normal’ technical aids”
But Leggeri doesn’t seem to care either. His letter to the commission shows that he has already procured 975 rubber batons for 14,995 euros, 700 telescopic batons for 43,400 euros, 3800 units of tear gas for 50,290 euros and 300 bulletproof vests for 80,292 euros. “With this, Frontex is creating a kind of special police force,” criticizes the left-wing MEP Özlem Demirel. “Weapons are not ‘normal’ technical aids, that should also be clear to Mr Leggeri.”
The Frontex regulation adopted in 2019 provides for a “standing reserve” of 10,000 security forces, 3,000 of whom are employed directly by the border guard and should also be in uniform – a novelty for an EU authority. Most recently, Frontex caused scandals through illegal pushbacks, and their boss Leggeri has also been criticized.