New actions to swiftly return those who have no right to stay
LIBE MEPs discussed the recently tabled measures that should curb irregular migration
Maria Koleva, Brussels
13 April, 2017
Photo: © European Parliament
LIBE MEPs insisted that there is a need of European agreements for return and readmission.
Challenges to readmission to be overcome by swiftly concluding the negotiations of readmission agreements with Nigeria, Tunisia and Jordan and striving to engage with Morocco and Algeria, are among the measures in the renewed EU Action Plan on Return, tabled recently by the Commission. Together with it, a set of recommendations were proposed providing guidelines to EU countries that will help them to increase the results of return operations and thus to curb irregular migration. At their sitting on 11 April, the members of the EP Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE), held a debate with representatives of the Commission on the proposals to speed up the procedures of return of migrants who are not entitled to refugee status.
Ioan-Dragos Tudorache, Head of Unit for Irregular Migration and Return Policy at the Commission’s DG HOME, explained to MEPs that in 2015 the Commission adopted an Action Plan on return which has 40 steps, many of them already implemented before the migration crisis. In view of the current situation, the EU executive decided to renew the plan. We’ve taken into account the reality and the sense of urgency given by these realities in the Member States, he said, adding that “with the new action plan we are trying to make national procedures more efficient using the directive better.” The package contains recommendations which look into detail on how Member States have been implementing the directive. The Commission has examined how at Member States’ and EU level the asylum procedure can be better articulated with the return procedures to maintain that logic of continuing actions and make sure there is coherence and synergy at national level on how the two sets of procedures are applied. The action plan talks about further improving the information exchange between Member States and EU agencies that are mandated to deal with returns. The existing IT systems available to the Member State authorities have been examined and their access to the systems evaluated. According to the Commission, exchanging best practices to ensure reintegration packages are consistent and coherent among all Member States to avoid countries of origin favouring returns from countries offering higher reintegration packages or assisted-voluntary return-shopping by irregular migrants. Furthermore, the Commission aims at improving the interaction between actors on return at national and EU level. In particular, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency is called on to step up pre-return assistance, increase its return support unit staff and set up a commercial flight mechanism for financing returns by June. The agency should step up the training of third country authorities on return by October. The financial support to Member States will be increased by €200m this year for national return efforts. The recommendations are not “one size fits all”, Ioan-Dragos Tudorache specified.
MEPs insisted that there is a need of European agreements for return and readmission. They also urged that in the case of returning minors, the clarification of the legal status is crucial.