Former Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), Fabrice Leggeri in July 2021 EPA-EFE/STRINGER


French former Frontex chief joins Le Pen for European Parliament elections


Fabrice Leggeri, who led the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex between 2015 and 2022, will be a top candidate on France’s National Rally list for the 2024 European Parliament elections in June.

The former senior civil servant, who took the third spot on the European list led by the French President of National Rally Jordan Bardella, denounced European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s Europe and justified his standing by Bardella in an interview on February 17 with Journal du Dimanche.

Leggeri’s arrival with the right-wing National Rally of Marine Le Pen is seen as a major win for the party.

He was responsible for the transformation of Frontex from a small humanitarian structure to a European border police powerhouse.

Due to his firm policy stance against illegal migration, he was targeted by the Left and open-border NGOs, who long called for his resignation.

They finally succeeded and he was forced out of Frontex after allegations he had organised illegal pushbacks – sending migrants back without giving them a chance to claim asylum.

In an announcement in 2022 on Twitter, Leggeri stated: “Our objective is clear: to regain control of the borders of the European Union and France.

“We must fight against migration overwhelm, a challenge that the European Commission and Eurocrats downplay. My experience at Frontex confirms this reality. It is time to take concrete action to protect our borders.”

Recently, he said: “After leaving my role at Frontex in April 2022, I realised that I had to get involved politically to defend my beliefs.

“The attacks and pressure only strengthened my determination to act in the interests of France.

“The attacks suffered, and the political pressures demonstrate the need to oppose today’s Europe. The European Commission is encouraging a migration flood, but we must act to protect our sovereignty and our borders,” Leggeri said.

In his interview with Journal du Dimanche, he said: “The European Commission and the Eurocrats do not see [mass migration] as a problem, but rather as a project: I can testify to that.”

Leggeri added that he was told by European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson: “Your job is to bring migrants in and welcome them because they come out of love.

“And whether you like it or not, we’re an ageing continent and so you have to let them in.”

International media are generally hostile towards Leggeri, often highlighting that he was forced to stepped down from Frontex due to the illegal pushbacks allegations and the fact that the European Union anti-fraud agency OLAF opened an investigation into him over alleged misconduct against staff and financial abuses.

Leggeri refuted that: “It is important to note that neither the European Parliament nor the Frontex Management Board have found any concrete evidence to support [the allegations].”

“In fact, because I wanted to control immigration, I was pressured and I felt a general abandonment.

“The French Government urged me to resign. Germany was not inclined to support me. The European Commission, which was clearly hostile towards me, wanted me to leave,” he insisted.

“In addition, I have been confronted with attacks from various lobbies and NGOs, which act against the sovereignty of States and go against the will of the French and European peoples.”

Leggeri claimed that with the Pact on Migration and Asylum, the EC will “encourage the influx of migrants”.

“What strikes me about this Migration Pact is the contempt for the sovereignty of States and the lack of concrete measures to put an end to the trafficking of human beings that physically transports hundreds of thousands of migrants on European soil to our borders,” he said.

“We must be aware of the scale of this phenomenon and the humanitarian challenges it implies.”

National Rally is leading the polls in France for the upcoming European Parliament elections and is projected to garner around 30 per cent of the vote, a rise of seven per cent compared to 2019.

The second-biggest party would then be the French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance, which has still not revealed its preferred top candidate. According to the latest polls, Renaissance would win 17 per cent of the vote, or a drop of five per cent.