Chief Joins French National Rally Against Mass Migration in European Parliament Elections

The former head of the European Union’s Frontex border enforcement agency has declared his candidacy for the EU Parliament on behalf of the French populist party National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, known for its stance against mass migration.

Fabrice Leggeri, who served as Frontex director from 2015 to 2022 before resigning amidst controversy over reported attempts to repel boat migrants from illegally entering the EU via Greece, announced his decision to join the National Rally on Sunday, marking a significant political move for the party.

On Monday, Leggeri joined RN President Jordan Bardella on the campaign trail in Alpes-Maritimes, where they visited French border guards. “I am joining Jordan Bardella’s list because I want France and Europe to regain control of their borders. Frontex has been misguided by the European Commission, and it must be restored to its role as a border guard,” Leggeri stated.

“We must reorient Frontex towards a mission of protecting our borders and our civilization, as Fabrice Leggeri wanted to do,” Bardella added.

The former presidential candidate of the National Rally (RN), Marine Le Pen, commented on the party’s new candidate, stating, “Fabrice Leggeri tried to make Frontex a coast guard agency to control illegal immigration,” and he ended up “being opposed by an ideology of welcoming migrants.”

The decision by the former Frontex director to align with the National Rally for the European Parliament elections is likely to undermine arguments made by figures such as French President Emmanuel Macron, who has sought to label the populist party as “far-right” and beyond the realm of acceptable politics.

Even the Le Figaro, the French newspaper of record, asserted that having a senior civil servant on board will serve as a “guarantee of credibility and a demonstration that the [National Rally] has become – finally – reputable.”

Leggeri stated that a primary focus of his campaign would be to challenge the migration pact promoted by Brussels, which aims to distribute undocumented migrants across the bloc. This has caused concern in countries like Hungary and Poland, which have made significant efforts to safeguard their borders and feel they should not bear the financial burden of hosting migrants due to the failures of other European states and Frontex to protect their borders.

Member states that refuse to accept migrants from other countries could face fines of up to €20,000 per migrant they turn away.

“With the migration and asylum pact, the Commission will encourage the migratory influx. This pact aims to distribute migrants across the EU while financially sanctioning the member states which refuse,” the former Frontex chief said, adding that the pact demonstrates “the contempt for the sovereignty of the member states and the absence of concrete measures to put an end to human trafficking.”

Leggeri is also expected to closely scrutinize his successor at the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Hans Leijtens, who advocates for a more liberal open borders approach compared to his predecessor. Leijtens has stated that “nothing” can halt illegal migration, and therefore he views his primary role as shifting the public discourse on migration to be more accepting of foreign undocumented individuals.

During Leijtens’ tenure, illegal migration into the European Union reached its highest level since 2016, with a 17 percent surge over the previous year. Preliminary figures released by Frontex last month indicated that an estimated 380,000 people had illegally entered the bloc.

National Rally President Bardella said: “We are determined to combat migratory overwhelm, which the European Commission and Eurocrats do not consider as a problem, but rather as a project.”