News

Illegal migrants must be returned

Alessandra MUSSOLINI
14.09.2016 - 15:24
Joint Operation Triton 2015 - Search and Rescue by Belgian navy

This Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a proposal to introduce a standardised European travel document for the return of third-country nationals who are currently staying within the European Union illegally. It is a welcome initiative that is being proposed in light of the stark reality that Member States are faced with - struggling to return the majority of migrants residing illegally to their home countries. In fact, in 2014, less than 40% of the total number of return decisions issued by Member States were enforced and the EU urgently requires an efficient system for repatriation in such cases.

The EU cannot maintain a totally open door policy

While the EU should fully respect international norms guaranteeing the rights of refugees, it cannot maintain an open door policy to anyone and everyone wishing to reside in the EU. It must distinguish between different types of migrants. The return of those who cannot stay must become a priority for the Union, which is currently facing overstretched resources in processing migrants, especially in the frontline states.

The return of those who cannot stay must become a priority for the Union, which is currently facing overstretched resources in processing migrants, especially in the frontline states

Between January and March 2015 alone, around 23,000 Tunisians – the majority economic migrants aspiring to find employment in France – arrived on the small Italian island of Lampedusa. In the same year, Member States reported some 700,000 detections of migrants staying illegally, the highest number of which were facilitated in Spain, followed by France and Italy.

We need EU-wide harmonised return document standards

A major obstacle impeding the EU’s ability to return third-country nationals here illegally is the fact that their home countries are reluctant to accept return papers because they are poor-quality documents. The proposal the European Parliament is voting on represents an unprecedented effort to harmonise return travel documents for migrants who do not have permission or reason to stay within the EU and to enforce return decisions.

Currently, return documents are being issued in the absence of a set of harmonised standards. They lack adequate security standards and common features including safeguards against counterfeiting and falsification. Presently, they are issued in various languages and with varying information.

A major obstacle impeding the EU’s ability to return third-country nationals with an illegal status is the fact that their home countries are reluctant to accept return papers because they are poor-quality documents. They lack adequate security standards and common features including safeguards against counterfeiting and falsification

The new European travel document will clearly state the returnee's personal details, the issuing authority and the date of issue. It will also feature a standardised passport photo. The reasons for return will be clearly stated in an official language of the EU. They will also be translated into English and French and, where possible, into the language of the third country involved. The returnee will be provided with the full reasons for their repatriation.

Improving cooperation on return and readmission with third countries for smoother repatriation

Improving cooperation on return and readmission with the main countries of origin and on transit of third-country nationals is absolutely essential to increase the rate of return and to ease the stress that economic migrants are currently exerting on the EU’s border management systems. The readmission of own nationals is obligatory under international law, with which all states must comply.

This return document should help with reducing the administrative and bureaucratic burden on Member-State and third-country administrations. It should also reduce the length of the procedures.

This return document should help with reducing the administrative and bureaucratic burden on Member-State and third-country administrations. It should also reduce the length of the procedures necessary to ensure the return and readmission of economic migrants residing in the European Union illegally. This will hasten and streamline their repatriation and begin to reverse a trend of increasing numbers of economic migrants arriving in the EU.

Latest

Man a airport security checkpoint
26.07.2017 - 16:46

EU Court ruling confirms Canada PNR agreement

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has, in principle, approved the proposed EU agreement with Canada on the exchange of passenger name...
Mexico - EU flags
19.07.2017 - 17:13

EPP Group supports strengthening of EU-Mexico partnership

Members of the EPP Group Presidency are concluding their 3-day official visit to Mexico today. “We have had fruitful and inspiring...
Photo of EU-US map
17.07.2017 - 14:32

EPP Group Presidency on official visit to Mexico

This week, the EPP Group Presidency will be in Mexico on an official visit. From Monday to Thursday, a delegation composed of EPP Group Chair...
justice
13.07.2017 - 12:11

PiS government has crossed the red line of the rule of law

Manfred Weber MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, and Esteban González Pons MEP, EPP Group Vice-Chairman in charge of...

Highlights of the week

10.07.2017 - 14.07.2017
Smart Borders

Smart Borders: better control of travellers

A new electronic Entry-Exit System to register all non-EU citizens coming to the Schengen area for a short stay will be voted on in the Committee on...
hands - handshake

Providing support for stability and peace in third countries

On Tuesday, Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee will give the green light to the use of EU funds to help the security forces in third countries...
EPP Group October I Plenary Briefing

Chairman's agenda

Saturday: CSU Party congress, Viechtach/Bavaria Sunday: Participation in a panel discussion, University of Passau/Bavaria Monday: Participation...