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The external dimension of the new pact on migration and asylum: A focus on prevention and readmission

07-04-2021

The challenges posed by migration have put EU Member States' solidarity to the test. Responding to a European Council request, in September 2020 the European Commission proposed a new pact on migration and asylum, to reinforce solidarity among the Member States and to strengthen EU migration management and asylum procedures, while also making them more consistent. The proposed pact has an external aspect as well: building on current EU migration partnership frameworks, it aims to reinforce international ...

The challenges posed by migration have put EU Member States' solidarity to the test. Responding to a European Council request, in September 2020 the European Commission proposed a new pact on migration and asylum, to reinforce solidarity among the Member States and to strengthen EU migration management and asylum procedures, while also making them more consistent. The proposed pact has an external aspect as well: building on current EU migration partnership frameworks, it aims to reinforce international partnerships with a view to ensuring effective returns, combating migrant smuggling more effectively, and developing legal migration channels. In the context of migration, the EU's external policy has among its objectives to help third countries tackle the root causes of irregular migration or quests for asylum. The European Parliament often emphasises this point, while warning at the same time that security and migration management concerns should not result in diverting funds from core EU development cooperation objectives. This is also a concern among academia and non-governmental organisations dealing with migration issues: several have pointed out that the Commission's proposals for the above-mentioned pact and the working document, recommendations and legislative proposals accompanying it put a lesser emphasis on pathways to legal migration than on measures aimed at incentivising third countries to retain possible irregular migrants or to accept returns.

Data on returns of irregular migrants

23-03-2021

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation governing return procedures. In general terms, under this directive, Member States must issue a return decision (an administrative or judicial decision imposing an obligation to leave the territory) for every third-country national found to be irregularly present on their territory. A proposal to recast the EU Return Directive is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and in Council. This infographic sets out the key data relating ...

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation governing return procedures. In general terms, under this directive, Member States must issue a return decision (an administrative or judicial decision imposing an obligation to leave the territory) for every third-country national found to be irregularly present on their territory. A proposal to recast the EU Return Directive is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and in Council. This infographic sets out the key data relating to EU return policy.

Recasting the Return Directive

11-03-2021

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU (European Union) legislation governing the procedures and criteria to be applied by Member States when returning irregularly staying third-country nationals, and a cornerstone of EU return policy. Taking into account the decrease in the EU return rate (from 45.8 % in 2016 to 28.9 % in 2019) and following European Council and Council calls to review the 2008 legal text to enhance the effectiveness of EU return policy, in September 2018 the Commission proposed ...

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU (European Union) legislation governing the procedures and criteria to be applied by Member States when returning irregularly staying third-country nationals, and a cornerstone of EU return policy. Taking into account the decrease in the EU return rate (from 45.8 % in 2016 to 28.9 % in 2019) and following European Council and Council calls to review the 2008 legal text to enhance the effectiveness of EU return policy, in September 2018 the Commission proposed a targeted recast of the directive aiming to 'reduce the length of return procedures, secure a better link between asylum and return procedures, and ensure a more effective use of measures to prevent absconding'. In the 2014-2019 parliamentary term, whereas the Council reached a partial general approach on the proposal, the European Parliament did not reach a position. A draft report was presented to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) but was not adopted. After the 2019 elections, Parliament decided to resume work on the proposal. A new draft report was published on 21 February 2020, but it was not presented in the LIBE committee until 10 September 2020 on account of delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The deadline for tabling amendments expired on 23 September 2020 and the LIBE committee is currently considering the 754 amendments tabled. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Pushbacks at the EU's external borders

08-03-2021

In recent years, the migration policy of the European Union (EU) has focused on strict border controls and the externalisation of migration management through cooperation with third countries. Although states have the right to decide whether to grant non-EU nationals access to their territory, they must do this in accordance with the law and uphold individuals' fundamental rights. Not only do the practices and policies of stopping asylum-seekers and migrants in need of protection at or before they ...

In recent years, the migration policy of the European Union (EU) has focused on strict border controls and the externalisation of migration management through cooperation with third countries. Although states have the right to decide whether to grant non-EU nationals access to their territory, they must do this in accordance with the law and uphold individuals' fundamental rights. Not only do the practices and policies of stopping asylum-seekers and migrants in need of protection at or before they reach the European Union's external borders ('pushbacks') erode EU values as enshrined in the EU Treaties, they may also violate international and European humanitarian and human rights laws. National human rights institutions, international bodies and civil society organisations regularly report cases of pushbacks at the European Union's land and sea borders. According to those reports, pushbacks often involve excessive use of force by EU Member States' authorities and EU agencies operating at external borders, and degrading and inhuman treatment of migrants and their arbitrary detention. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for Member States and EU agencies to comply with fundamental rights in their activities to protect the EU's external borders. Several international organisations and other stakeholders have condemned or filed legal actions against the practice of pushbacks carried out at the EU's external borders. In September 2020, the European Commission presented a pact on migration and asylum, including a proposal on pre-entry screening of third-country nationals at EU external borders, in a bid to address these potential breaches of fundamental rights.

Crisis and force majeure regulation

14-01-2021

In September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new pact on asylum and migration. The legislative package related to the pact includes a proposal for a regulation dealing with crisis and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum, aimed at establishing a mechanism for dealing with mass influxes and irregular arrivals of third-country nationals in a Member State. The regulation would set out the solidarity mechanism procedure in the event of returns of irregular migrants applying the ...

In September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new pact on asylum and migration. The legislative package related to the pact includes a proposal for a regulation dealing with crisis and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum, aimed at establishing a mechanism for dealing with mass influxes and irregular arrivals of third-country nationals in a Member State. The regulation would set out the solidarity mechanism procedure in the event of returns of irregular migrants applying the possibility for return sponsorship on behalf of another Member State, as established in the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (AMR). It would also provide for shorter deadlines in comparison to usual procedures under the AMR, when applicable in a crisis situation and for some derogations in crisis situations concerning the asylum crisis management procedure, the return crisis management procedure, and the registration of international protection applications in crisis situations. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

The Return Directive 2008/115/EC

07-07-2020

In November 2019, the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) launched an implementation report on Directive 2008/115/EC on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (the 'Return Directive'). The Return Directive aims at ensuring that the return of non-EU nationals without legal grounds to stay in the EU is carried out effectively, through fair and transparent procedures that fully respect the ...

In November 2019, the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) launched an implementation report on Directive 2008/115/EC on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (the 'Return Directive'). The Return Directive aims at ensuring that the return of non-EU nationals without legal grounds to stay in the EU is carried out effectively, through fair and transparent procedures that fully respect the fundamental rights and dignity of the people concerned. Tineke Strik (Greens/EFA, the Netherlands) was appointed as rapporteur. Implementation reports by European Parliament committees are routinely accompanied by European Implementation Assessments, drawn up by the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit of the European Parliament's Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS). This EPRS European Implementation Assessment finds several protection gaps and shortcomings regarding the four key measures of the Return Directive – return decision, enforcement of the return decision, entry ban, and detention – which may lead to fundamental rights violations for irregular migrants. Moreover, EU return and readmission policy has increasingly resorted to informal cooperation in the external policy dimension. There have been, and continue to be, rule of law, fundamental rights, budgetary and external affairs implications flowing from the pursuit, conclusion and implementation of EU readmission agreements and agreements having equivalent effect with third countries.

Repatriation of EU citizens during the COVID-19 crisis: The role of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism

01-04-2020

According to official estimates, the COVID-19 crisis has left more than 200 000 EU citizens stranded outside the borders of the EU. EU Member States have been making great efforts to retrieve them, often with the help of the EU. The priority has been to return EU citizens by using commercial flights, but as the conditions continue to worsen, other resources have had to be utilised. EU Member States can activate the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to facilitate the repatriation of their and other EU ...

According to official estimates, the COVID-19 crisis has left more than 200 000 EU citizens stranded outside the borders of the EU. EU Member States have been making great efforts to retrieve them, often with the help of the EU. The priority has been to return EU citizens by using commercial flights, but as the conditions continue to worsen, other resources have had to be utilised. EU Member States can activate the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to facilitate the repatriation of their and other EU citizens, if the Emergency Crisis Response Centre assesses that there is no better way. So far, at least 15 countries are reported to have requested the help of the Civil Protection Mechanism, using it to organise flights co-funded with EU funds, and so far repatriating 4 382 EU citizens (and 550 others), first from China, and then from a wide range of countries, including Cape Verde, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, the Philippines, Tunisia, the USA and Vietnam. More flights are scheduled to bring people back from other locations. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been used more than 300 times to respond to disasters since its establishment in 2001. All the EU Member States, together with Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey, participate in the Mechanism, but it can also be activated by any country in the world and by certain international organisations. Once the Mechanism is activated, a number of steps follow. The Emergency Crisis Response Centre, as part of the Mechanism, decides on the best response and coordinates it. The EU funds up to 75 % of the costs of the deployment of resources. The 2019 upgrade of the Mechanism boosted the joint capacity for responding to disasters, including medical emergencies. It created rescEU, a reserve of capacities, which has now been augmented to include a stockpile of medical equipment for the COVID-19 response, 90 % of which is funded by the EU. On 27 March 2020, the Commission proposed to further boost the budget for repatriation and for the rescEU stockpile.

Data on returns of irregular migrants

05-04-2019

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation applied to return procedures. Under this directive, Member States shall generally issue a return decision (an administrative or judicial decision imposing and obligation to leave the territory of Member States) against every third-country national (TCN) found to be irregularly present in their territory. A proposal to recast the EU Return Directive is currently being discussed within the European Parliament and the Council. This infographic ...

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation applied to return procedures. Under this directive, Member States shall generally issue a return decision (an administrative or judicial decision imposing and obligation to leave the territory of Member States) against every third-country national (TCN) found to be irregularly present in their territory. A proposal to recast the EU Return Directive is currently being discussed within the European Parliament and the Council. This infographic aims to provide relevant data on the EU return policy.

The proposed Return Directive (recast)-Substitute Impact Assessment

12-02-2019

On 12 September 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a recasting of the 2008 Return Directive, which stipulates common standards and procedures in Member States for returning irregular migrants who are non-EU nationals. Effectively returning irregular migrants is one of the key objectives of the European Union’s migration policy. However, Member States currently face challenges: national practices implementing the EU rules vary and the overall return rates remain below expectations ...

On 12 September 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a recasting of the 2008 Return Directive, which stipulates common standards and procedures in Member States for returning irregular migrants who are non-EU nationals. Effectively returning irregular migrants is one of the key objectives of the European Union’s migration policy. However, Member States currently face challenges: national practices implementing the EU rules vary and the overall return rates remain below expectations. The proposal was not accompanied by a Commission impact assessment. The European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) therefore asked the European Parliamentary Research Service to provide a targeted substitute impact assessment of the proposed recast Return Directive. The assessment considers the main expected impacts of the key provisions of the Commission proposal, focusing on the social, human rights and financial impacts, as compared to the current situation (status quo). On the basis of the legal and economic studies carried out for this impact assessment, it appears that the Commission proposal for a recast Return Directive has significant legal, social, human rights and economic implications, which in principle would have deserved consideration in the context of a proper impact assessment process conducted ex-ante by the Commission.

EU asylum, borders and external cooperation on migration: Recent developments

21-09-2018

This publication takes stock of recent EU developments in the area of asylum, borders and external cooperation on migration. It discusses key initiatives put forward by the EU in order to respond to migratory challenges, focusing on three major aspects: reforming the common European asylum system, strengthening the EU's external borders and reinforcing the EU's external cooperation on migration.

This publication takes stock of recent EU developments in the area of asylum, borders and external cooperation on migration. It discusses key initiatives put forward by the EU in order to respond to migratory challenges, focusing on three major aspects: reforming the common European asylum system, strengthening the EU's external borders and reinforcing the EU's external cooperation on migration.

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