EU lawmakers refuse to sign off on border agency’s budget

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union lawmakers are ramping up pressure on the EU’s under-fire border and coast guard agency Frontex. They are refusing to sign off on the agency’s budget over concerns about allegations of rights violations, hiring failures and harassment by senior Frontex staff. The EU Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee voted by 22 votes to 3, with 5 abstentions to postpone endorsing the 2019 budget until things are cleared up. Frontex is under pressure following a series of allegations that it was involved in the illegal pushbacks of migrants, notably in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey. An official inquiry cleared it of links to the pushback claims but criticized reporting and monitoring failures.