The European Commission announced that the Union is adopting the first EU migration Strategy on voluntary return and reintegration of migrants who have reached European shores. The Strategy promotes voluntary return and reintegration as an integral part of a common EU system for returns, a key objective under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum.
According to European officials, the new strategy on migration at a European level sets out practical measures to strengthen the legal and operational framework for voluntary returns from Europe and from transit countries, improve the quality of return and reintegration programmes, establish better links with development initiatives and strengthen cooperation with partner countries.
Issuing a statement on the occasion, the Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas said that ”The EU is building a new ecosystem on returns – looking at increasing cooperation on readmission, improving the governance framework, equipping Frontex with a new operational mandate on returns and appointing an EU Return Coordinator.”
Margaritis Schinas: The EU is building a new ecosystem on voluntary returns for Migrants
The EU is building a new ecosystem on returns – looking at increasing cooperation on readmission, improving the governance framework, equipping Frontex with a new operational mandate on returns and appointing an EU Return Coordinator. Today’s Strategy on voluntary returns and reintegration is another piece of that puzzle. Returns are more effective when they are voluntary and accompanied by genuine reintegration options for returnees and this Strategy will develop a more uniform and coordinated approach among Member States to unlock their full potential.
Schinas also noted that ”Today’s Strategy on voluntary returns and reintegration is another piece of that puzzle. Returns are more effective when they are voluntary and accompanied by genuine reintegration options for returnees and this Strategy will develop a more uniform and coordinated approach among Member States to unlock their full potential.”
The new EU migration strategy
According to the plans of the EU officials, gaps between asylum and return procedures, challenges in preventing absconding, insufficient resources, lack of data, overall fragmentation and limited administrative capacity to follow-up on return decisions all ”contribute to the low uptake in assisted voluntary returns programmes”.
Through the proposed recast ”Return Directive”, the amended proposal for an Asylum Procedures Regulation, the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation and the revised Eurodac Regulation, the Commission ”will continue to put in place fast and fair common procedures and rules on asylum and return, monitor the granting of return and reintegration assistance and reduce the risk of unauthorised movements.”
Through its enhanced mandate, Frontex can support the Member States in all stages of the voluntary return and reintegration process, including pre-return counselling, post-arrival support and monitoring the effectiveness of reintegration assistance.
The Return Coordinator and High-Level Network for Return will provide further technical support to the Member States in bringing together different strands of EU return policy. On top of that, the European Union aims to strengthen its cooperation with nearby nations that play a crucial role in managing migrant flows toward Europe.
EU tailor-made and effective counselling
Providing early, tailor-made and effective return counselling taking into account individual circumstances, the needs of children and vulnerable groups, as well as support after return, improves their chances of successful and sustainable reintegration into their home communities. The Commission will work with Frontex to develop a common curriculum for return counsellors complementing existing support from the Agency and making better use of web-based tools such as the Return and Reintegration Assistance Inventory and the Reintegration Assistance Tool. The Commission, in cooperation with Member States, Frontex and the European Return and Reintegration Network, will also develop a quality framework for reintegration service providers based on common standards for managing projects, supported by EU funding.
Ylva Johansson: Voluntary returns are always the better option for Migrants
Only about a third of people with no right to stay in the EU return to their country of origin and of those who do, fewer than 30% do so voluntarily. Voluntary returns are always the better option: they put the individual at the core, they are more effective and less costly Our first ever strategy on voluntary return and reintegration will help returnees from both the EU and third countries to seize opportunities in their home country, contribute to the development of the community and build trust in our migration system to make it more effective.
”Cooperation on voluntary return and reintegration is a key aspect of migration partnerships that the EU will strengthen under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The EU will support the ownership of reintegration processes in partner countries with capacity building, providing staff with the necessary skills, or supporting governance structures to cater to the specific economic, social and psychosocial needs of returnees,” a statement of the Commission stated.
”The EU will also continue to provide assistance for voluntary return and reintegration of migrants stranded in other countries, including through exploring new partnerships. Finally, the EU will strengthen links between reintegration programmes and other relevant development initiatives in partner countries. The Commission will ensure a more coordinated use of the financial resources that will be available under different EU funds to support the entirety of the voluntary return and reintegration process,” the Brussels announcement noted.