From file: EU flags next to the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/JULIEN WARNAND
From file: EU flags next to the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

The European Commission has presented a new strategy to increase the return of irregular migrants. EU member states were called on to work closer together as well as collaborate with EU authorities like Frontex.

More migrants who do not meet the requirements to enter or remain in the European Union should return to their country, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs said on Tuesday (January 24).

"Those who are not entitled to stay in the European Union must be sent back to their country of origin," said Ylva Johansson, who together with EU Return Coordinator Mari Juritsch, presented a new returns strategy during a press conference in Brussels to ensure more repatriations.

The bloc has been striving for a higher repatriation rate for irregular migrants for years.

In April 2021, the EU Commission had presented a strategy focused primarily on voluntary returnees. But only 21% of migrants who irregularly entered the EU returned to their countries of origin, even if their asylum request was rejected by a member state, according to the European Commission.

The total number of non-EU citizens issued with an order to leave an EU country was 342,100 in 2021, according to Eurostat. Following an order to leave, 82,700 non-EU citizens were returned to another country (including other EU countries).

France, Germany, Spain, and Austria received the highest number of asylum requests.

How will the EU boost repatriations?

Johansson stressed that in order to increase the number of repatriations, EU member states must work closer together as well as with EU authorities such as the European Border and Coast Guard Agency – also known as Frontex.

Brussels also wants to use its visa policy to exert pressure on countries that do not agree to take back rejected asylum seekers.

In 2018, Brussels had a repatriation target of around 70%. Johansson and Juritsch, however, did not want to commit to a new target on Tuesday (this can only take place in consultation with EU member states).

With DPA


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