EU Presents Strategy to Increase Departures

EU Presents Strategy to Increase Departures

The European Union (EU) seeks to encourage people without a right of residence to return voluntarily to their countries of origin. The EU Commission presented a comprehensive strategy in which Frontex plays an important role.

According to the EU Commission, only around 30 per cent of those required to leave the EU actually leave the EU. And only about a third of them, i.e. ten per cent of those required to leave the country in total, leave voluntarily.

To increase the rate of voluntary returnees, the EU Commission has formulated a strategy that also takes people’s reintegration into account.

Returns currently fail due to a lack of resources in the EU countries, a lack of cooperation between the countries of origin or the fact that those affected go into hiding.

To persuade those affected to return voluntarily, the EU countries are already partially covering the travel costs and participating in the facilitation. Sometimes people are also given financial start-up aid. According to the German Federal Office for Migration, more than 13,000 people left voluntarily in 2019. In 2020 there were significantly fewer due to the COVID19 pandemic.

The new strategy is intended to standardize the approach of the EU states. In this way, they will work more closely with the countries of origin and transit and promote reintegration. In addition, programs of this kind are to be linked more closely to development funding.

Those affected should be advised at an early stage about the possibility of returning to their home country voluntarily. This improves the chance that they will integrate well, it said.

The Commission seeks to work with the border protection agency Frontex on a curriculum for return counsellors. Frontex is also to send its own advisory experts to the member countries and become a quasi return agency.

In addition, gaps between asylum and departure procedures are to be closed, and people going into hiding are to be tackled. For these measures, the Commission refers to legislative plans that have already been submitted.

In its proposals for a reform of the EU asylum and migration policy in September, the EU Commission had already placed a focus on the repatriation of migrants. Among other things, the EU Commission threatens uncooperative countries with restrictions on the issuing of visas.

Photo by Montecruz Foto/Flickr (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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