EU wants to return more migrants and faster to their countries of origin

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, Swedish Minister of Justice Gunnar Strommer and his migration colleague Maria Malmer Stennegard hold a press conference in Stockholm, January 26, 2023. Henrik Montgomery/AFP

At a meeting yesterday in Stockholm, European interior ministers expressed their desire to increase the return of illegal migrants to their countries of origin, advocating some additional restrictions on the issuance of visas to nationals of “non-cooperative” states. “We are seeing an increase in illegal arrivals… Sending those who have been denied asylum back to Europe is a very important issue,” said Swedish Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenegaard, whose country presides over the biannual Council of the European Union.

Of the approximately 340,500 “return” decisions made in 2021 in European countries, 21% were actually implemented, according to Eurostat figures cited by the Commission. “We have a very low interest rate. We can make progress to increase their number and make them faster,” commented EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, who arrived at the meeting.

At the European level, a mechanism came into force in 2020 that allows visas to be used as leverage to force third countries to take their nationals. Sweden, which presides over the EU Council, considers “it is extremely important to use the full potential of this mechanism. “There are certain third countries for which action could be quickly taken to improve the current lack of cooperation,” she said in a preparatory document for the meeting.

France supports the use of this leverage. “There are two stages for us: the first, which should be done in a constructive dialogue with third countries, but which should be tightened with restrictive measures if there are no results,” said the Secretary of State for Citizenship. , Sonya Backes, present in Stockholm. Italy is also in favor of this. Minister Matteo Piantedosi also underlined that “the return procedure related to reintegration projects, including in the case of forced repatriation, can facilitate the cooperation of the foreigner concerned, encourage third countries of origin to strengthen cooperation and contribute to combating the root causes of immigration.” .

Germany, on the other hand, has expressed its “reservations” regarding the use of visa weapons. Minister of the Interior Nancy Feiser explained that she supports the conclusion of migration agreements, in particular, with the countries of North Africa, “assuming, on the one hand, legal channels (migration), and on the other, effective repatriation.”

Effective leverage?

Currently, only one country, the Gambia, is under EU sanctions for “lack of cooperation”: the conditions for issuing a visa for the Schengen zone to citizens of this country have been tightened and the rights have been increased to 120 euros (against 80 on average). ). The commission also proposed restrictive visa measures against Iraq and Bangladesh in 2021. Commissioner Johansson, who visited Dhaka in November, said the threat of sanctions had spurred Bangladesh to cooperate. The country’s authorities are now “politically open to the return of all their citizens,” she assured at a January 19 press conference.

In December 2021, EU heads of state and government called for the use of “all relevant European instruments, including development aid, trade and visas” as “levers” in migration. Nearly eight years after the 2015 refugee crisis, EU countries still have not reformed their asylum systems. However, the number of migrants arriving in the EU is on the rise after several years marked by pandemic-related movement restrictions: 330,000 “illegal entries” in 2022 – a person can enter multiple times – the highest level since 2016, by according to Frontex. agency. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) speaks of “187,993 people who entered the EU illegally” last year. Approximately 924,000 asylum applications were registered in 2022, up 50% on a yearly basis. In addition, there are four million Ukrainian refugees in the EU who enjoy a special protection status.


Source: L Orient Le Jour

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Get in Touch


Latest Posts