Misconducts are “pactices of the Past”, Frontex reported after Aija Kalnaja took over as interim director in the autumn. The Latvian-born 53-year-old succeeded Fabrice Leggeri, who was investigated by the EU’s anti-fraud agency and who considered human rights violations to be Frontex’s DNA.
Kalnaja joined the Latvian police after an episode as a microbiology lab worker, where she then took over as head of the SIRENE office after ten years. This is the police liaison office that Schengen states must set up for international cooperation. She gained international experience as a police attaché in the UK before making a career at Frontex.
She was soon appointed deputy director and was responsible for the new border corps. This is the first and only police force to be uniformed by the EU and equipped with pistols, batons and mace. It is also to provide migration defence for Fortress Europe in African countries.
After Leggeri’s resignation, Kalnaja also applied for the post of chief, but without success, as she has to hand over the commissionary office to the Dutch gendarme Hans Leijtens in March. The fact that Kalnaja remains only vice-director may have been due to “Der Spiegel”, which reported that the EU anti-fraud agency was investigating not only Leggeri but also Kalnaja.
The EU Commission knew about this when it proposed the Latvian for the final chief post, the magazine now writes, and asks rhetorically whether this is “in line with the EU’s values”, as called for in the job advertisement. Yes, because those values include hypocrisy when it comes to migration and neighbourhood policy. The establishment of an armed border force commanded by Kalnaya is proof of this.
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: The interim director at Frontex, Aija Kalnaja, with the Greek Prime Minister and the Minister of Migration (Frontex).