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Parliamentary questions
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18 June 2018
Question reference: E-000958/2018

In June 2017, the European Council called for further efforts to achieve real progress in return and readmission policy, including through the negotiation and conclusion of well-functioning readmission agreements and pragmatic arrangements with third countries that should be put in place at EU level without any further delay(1).

In October 2017, the European Council restated — as part of the comprehensive, pragmatic and resolute approach of the EU and its Member States to ensure full control of the external borders — the importance of ensuring significantly enhanced returns through actions at both EU and Member States level, such as effective readmission agreements and arrangements(2).

The negotiation and conclusion of admission procedures for the return of Ethiopians from European Union Member States (hereafter, ‘the admission procedures’) is part of this overall approach of the EU and its Member States and fully in line with the objectives set by the European Council.

The Council notes that the importance of Ethiopia with respect to migration is clearly reflected by the fact that it has been identified as one of the five African priority countries (along with Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal) in the context of the development of a Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on migration. These Partnership Frameworks are not international agreements.

They are political frameworks which bring the different partners together to better manage various aspects of migration, including return. In its Conclusions of October 2016, the European Council stressed the importance of establishing an effective Partnership Framework which would make it possible to deliver results in terms of preventing illegal migration and returning irregular migrants(3).

The EU has furthermore engaged with Ethiopia through the financial instruments aimed at promoting and facilitating the implementation of the Partnership Framework, in particular the EU Trust Fund, and more generally in developing its relations with the country.

The Honourable Member's attention is drawn to the fact that EC law and acquis provide the necessary safeguards and guarantees for persons falling within the scope of the admission procedures. The return decisions are individual ones taken by Member States, and compliance with the principle of non-refoulement must be checked on an individual basis before the return decision is enforced. The Return Directive provides for a number of harmonised standards in this respect.

(1)EUCO 8/17.
(2)EUCO 14/17.
(3)EUCO 31/16.

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