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Emilija Berzanskaite
14th September 2021
Employment & Immigration Human Rights

European Court of Auditors observes that the EU returns system for irregular migrants is flawed

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has published a special report on the European Union’s cooperation with third countries regarding the facilitation of the return and readmission of irregular migrants from the EU to their home countries.  

The report states that during the period of 2015 – 2020, the EU has achieved limited progress in concluding readmission agreements with third countries or ensured that third countries comply with their obligations in practice. The findings show that fewer than 1 in 5 non-EU citizens who have been ordered to leave the EU due to lack of authorisation for their stay return to their own countries, because of the difficulties encountered in cooperation with third countries. 

The EU currently has in place 18 legally binding agreements and six non-legally binding returns and readmission arrangements with third countries, and is in ongoing discussions with six further countries. However, the special reports finds that even though the EU actions to facilitate readmission cooperation were relevant, the current EU returns system suffers from significant inefficiencies and, in fact, encourages irregular migration rather than preventing. 

The ECA recommends: (i) the Commission to pursue a more flexible approach when negotiating readmission agreements; (ii) the creation of ‘synergies’ with Member States to facilitate readmission negotiations; (iii) the strengthening of incentives for third countries; and (iV) greater data collection on readmissions. 

According to the ECA, its report aims to contribute to the debate on the EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum and help to build an overall comprehensive migration policy.

The press release of the ECA is available here and the Special Report can be accessed here.



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