EU Readmission Agreements: Facilitating the return of irregular migrants

24-04-2015

EU Readmission Agreements (EURAs) are based on reciprocal obligations and are concluded between the European Union and non-EU countries to facilitate the return of people residing irregularly in a country to their country of origin or to a country of transit. They operate alongside but take precedence over bilateral readmission agreements between individual EU Member States and non-EU countries. They are negotiated in a broader context where partner countries are usually granted visa facilitation and other incentives such as financial support for implementing the agreement or special trade conditions in exchange for readmitting people residing without authorisation in the EU. As such, they are crucial to the EU’s return policy, as defined in the Return Directive (Directive 2008/115/EC). The legal basis for concluding EURAs is Article 79(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). They are negotiated with the partner country on the basis of a negotiating mandate granted by the Council to the Commission. They are then concluded after the European Parliament has given its consent. Once they come into force, their effectiveness can vary significantly from country to country. In the past, the European Parliament (EP) has raised concerns that EURAs do not provide sufficient human-rights safeguards to ensure the protection of returnees at all times. The EURA with Albania (signed in 2005) was the first to reflect the EP's concerns about this insufficient reference to human rights.

EU Readmission Agreements (EURAs) are based on reciprocal obligations and are concluded between the European Union and non-EU countries to facilitate the return of people residing irregularly in a country to their country of origin or to a country of transit. They operate alongside but take precedence over bilateral readmission agreements between individual EU Member States and non-EU countries. They are negotiated in a broader context where partner countries are usually granted visa facilitation and other incentives such as financial support for implementing the agreement or special trade conditions in exchange for readmitting people residing without authorisation in the EU. As such, they are crucial to the EU’s return policy, as defined in the Return Directive (Directive 2008/115/EC). The legal basis for concluding EURAs is Article 79(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). They are negotiated with the partner country on the basis of a negotiating mandate granted by the Council to the Commission. They are then concluded after the European Parliament has given its consent. Once they come into force, their effectiveness can vary significantly from country to country. In the past, the European Parliament (EP) has raised concerns that EURAs do not provide sufficient human-rights safeguards to ensure the protection of returnees at all times. The EURA with Albania (signed in 2005) was the first to reflect the EP's concerns about this insufficient reference to human rights.