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The Return Directive: Seeking improved implementation

24-04-2015

Directive 2008/115/EC on common standards and procedures for returning illegally staying third-country nationals is part of the European Union's Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). It sets out to protect returnees by establishing Schengen-wide standards and procedures for their return, based on EU and international fundamental rights and refugee-protection obligations. At the same time, it recognises the Member States' right to remove illegal stayers and safeguard their public policy ...

Directive 2008/115/EC on common standards and procedures for returning illegally staying third-country nationals is part of the European Union's Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). It sets out to protect returnees by establishing Schengen-wide standards and procedures for their return, based on EU and international fundamental rights and refugee-protection obligations. At the same time, it recognises the Member States' right to remove illegal stayers and safeguard their public policy and national-security interests. Given the growing numbers of non-EU nationals seeking protection or better lives in the European Union, the proper implementation of this Directive plays a crucial role in ensuring that those who do not need protection are returned safely, in dignity and with due regard to their human rights. Since its adoption, a number of judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) have either confirmed or clarified certain aspects of the Return Directive, in order to identify and address non-compliant national practices. The Commission's March 2014 communication appraised EU return policy and explored future developments. The Council responded in its June 2014 conclusions on return policy, emphasising the need to focus on improving implementation and consolidating existing rules rather than new legislative initiatives. The European Parliament's resolution of 17 December 2014 advocated, inter alia, swift processing, in collaboration with non-EU countries of origin and return, and of transit, for those who do not qualify for asylum and protection in the EU.

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 ...

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.

Asylum in the EU: Facts and Figures

31-03-2015

Asylum is a form of international protection given by a state on its territory to someone who is threatened by persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular group or political opinion in their country of origin or residence. In the EU, this consists of refugee status as defined in the UN Geneva Refugee Convention, and subsidiary protection for persons who do not qualify as refugees but in respect of whom substantial grounds exist that the person concerned, if returned ...

Asylum is a form of international protection given by a state on its territory to someone who is threatened by persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular group or political opinion in their country of origin or residence. In the EU, this consists of refugee status as defined in the UN Geneva Refugee Convention, and subsidiary protection for persons who do not qualify as refugees but in respect of whom substantial grounds exist that the person concerned, if returned to their country of origin, would face a real risk of suffering serious harm as defined in the Qualification Directive. The Lisbon Treaty introduced a legal basis for a common asylum policy that would make it possible to eliminate differences in the treatment of asylum-seekers across the EU. The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) was completed in 2013 and comprises five key acts. Notably, the Qualification Directive clarifies the grounds on which international protection is granted to asylum-seekers in EU Member States. Furthermore, the Dublin III Regulation establishes the criteria for determining which Member State is responsible for examining an application for international protection, and provides for the transfer of asylum-seekers to the Member State responsible under the Dublin rules. This briefing provides an overview of the number of third-country nationals seeking asylum in EU Member States, their success in asylum procedures, and requests for transfers between Member States, as a consequence of the Dublin Regulation. For further information on asylum in the EU, please see our briefing ‘EU legal framework on asylum and irregular immigration’.

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