Lobbying EU Agencies from Within: Advocacy Groups in Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights
With the growing importance of agencies in the EU executive space in terms of competences and resources (i.e., agencification), advocacy groups have started to direct their lobbying efforts toward EU agencies. In particular, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that advocate for human rights are currently represented in a number of consultative bodies and platforms of EU agencies such as the Fundamental Rights Agency, the European Asylum Support Office, and Frontex. The role of these bodies and platforms is to “merely” assist EU agencies in gathering information on fundamental rights issues. However, access to EU agencies gives advocacy groups a privileged position to push their claims forward.
However, Frontex—i.e., now the European Coast and Border Guard agency—since its inception has raised serious concerns on fundamental rights abuses and lack of accountability with regard to the respect of human rights. As a consequence, in 2011, the revised Frontex Regulation introduced a Fundamental Rights Strategy and two new bodies: the Fundamental Rights Officer and the Consultative Forum on fundamental rights (CF). The aim of this paper is to establish how advocacy groups lobby Frontex from within (i.e., in the CF) and what is the effect of this lobbying activity on the agency.
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