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This is the story of Luisa and Arne and how they tried to watch the watchers, a secretive, well-funded EU body, Frontex, in charge of policing Europe’s borders and saving lives at sea. [1]

Luisa and Arne asked for very simple information - what type of boats does Frontex have in the Mediterranean, an area where human lives are needlessly lost every year and where NGOs are no longer welcome? Frontex repeatedly refused to give this information, so Luisa and Arne took them to court. [2]

Not only did they not get an answer, they lost. As a clear threat Frontex sent them a €24,000 bill for legal fees to be paid in two days. European public institutions almost never send legal bills to citizens!

We know that Frontex really hates bad publicity.

Luisa and Arne have a plan to spread their story across Europe. It will be so much more powerful if this isn’t just their struggle, but all of ours. All it takes is your signature to stand with Luisa and Arne, and let Frontex know Europeans don’t respond well to bullies [3].

Sign now!

If we let Frontex get away with this, the impact will go much further than Luisa and Arne.

They are the first to take Frontex to court as individuals -- an act in itself very important. If we let Frontex set the precedent that individuals cannot ask them for information without being bullied and ending up in debt with tens of thousands of euros in legal fees, they will continue to work in clouds of secrecy.

When individuals like you and I take EU institutions to court, they use their own legal team and, more importantly, they will almost never ask the individual to cover legal fees, as a democratic gesture.

But here, when Luisa and Arne lost the case (due to ‘security’ reasons cited) [4] Frontex not only asked them to cover their legal fees, but those fees were for a big-shot Brussels based lawyer rather than the legal team they already have. Not only that, but Frontex has a budget of €1 billion. €24,000 is pocket change for them.

So all of this raises the question -- what does Frontex have to hide? Sign now and let’s find out.

Sign now!


Luisa and Arne have spent years fighting for the right of every individual to get information from the people in power. Right now they need our help -- let's join them.

In solidarity,

David, Olga (Bologna) and the entire WeMove Europe team

PS. It may seem daunting taking on an institution as powerful and well funded as Frontex. But our community has done this before. Three Spanish firemen were put on trial for human smuggling as a result of saving human lives in the mediterranean. And thanks to our actions, we brought their story to Europe’s Migration Commissioner, and ultimately, all charges were dropped. [5] We can do it again -- it starts with each of us taking action. Sign now.

References:
[1] https://correctiv.org/en/top-stories-en/2019/08/15/frontex-watching-the-watchers/
https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/frontex_vessels_under_jo_triton
[2] https://fragdenstaat.de/en/blog/2019/11/27/frontex-judgement-luxemburg-transparency/ and https://euobserver.com/migration/145186
[3] Luisa and Arne are speaking to journalists across Europe to tell them their story. They are also letting them know about the support they are receiving from the WeMove Europe Community and beyond. But if there are not enough of us to show our support, it is likely the story won’t be about Europeans against Frontex, but just two people. And we know that we are stronger together.
[4] https://fragdenstaat.de/en/blog/2019/11/27/frontex-judgement-luxemburg-transparency/
[5] https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/criminalising-humanity