European Parliament vice-president and Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola will chair an investigative committee tasked with looking into allegations of misconduct made about the EU's border agency Frontex.

The agency has come under scrutiny following allegations of harassment and misconduct as well as claims that it facilitated the pushback of migrants - a violation of international law.  

EU anti-fraud agency OLAF opened its own investigation into the agency last month and the EU Ombudsman is also investigating.   

The internal scrutiny, which began after German news outlet Der Spiegel published reports alleging Frontex was unlawfully returning asylum seekers to the places they were fleeing, have added pressure on Frontex's executive director Fabrice Leggeri to resign. 

MEPs have now launched their own probe into the agency, which Metsola will lead. Her appointment was supported by all major political groups represented in the European Parliament.

The investigative committee, which is made up of 14 MEPs, will report back to parliament within four months. 

Speaking after the appointment, Metsola said the process sought “clear answers” to the questions being asked. It will look into and recommend improvements about the way things are done.

She said the committee will look at the agency's “compliance and respect for fundamental rights", its internal management, and assess whether "transparency and accountability standards that are expected are reached”.

“It is a purposefully varied remit that focuses on different aspects of the agency’s operations. I hope the process will lead to a series of recommendations that will give clarity and confidence to people looking at the EU’s role in external border management," Metsola said. 

She expressed gratitude at the confidence the different political groups placed in her and said she looked forward to working with a “dynamic, experienced, group of MEPs” from all political backgrounds.

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