From . – 01.24.2023 17:22 (act. 01.25.2023 09:14)
The EU Commission wants more migrants without the right to stay to leave the EU. ©APA/ROLAND SCHLAGER (symbol image)
The EU Commission wants significantly more migrants without the right to remain to leave the European Union again. “Those who do not have the right to remain in the European Union should be sent back to their home country,” EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said on Tuesday.
Together with the responsible EU representative, Mari Juritsch, she presented a strategy that should lead to more returns.
EU fights for higher repatriation rate
The EU has been trying for years to achieve a higher repatriation rate. In April 2021, for example, the EU Commission presented a strategy focused mainly on voluntary returnees. Furthermore, the EU wants to use its visa policy, for example, to put pressure on countries that are not prepared to take back rejected asylum seekers. Indeed, after a decision in October 2021, this lever has so far only been used with The Gambia. An EU summit in late 2021 also mentioned trade relations and development aid as possible means of pressure.
So far, however, the trend has been in the opposite direction. According to the EU Commission, 29% of people who should have left the EU states left the country in 2019. In 2021, the rate was then 21%. The Brussels authority had announced a target of around 70% in 2018.
EU Commission relies on closer cooperation
Johansson and Juritsch were unwilling to commit to a new target on Tuesday. This can only happen in consultation with EU states. Because they are actually responsible for returning rejected asylum seekers. The EU Commission is now relying primarily on closer cooperation between member states and EU authorities such as Frontex in order to increase the number of discards.
“Repatriations are a shared responsibility,” said Juritsch. Especially in third countries where there are no major political obstacles or problems with fundamental rights, more people would have to be repatriated. In order to protect the credibility of the asylum system and avoid unwanted border crossings, more speed is needed. She demanded that there be advisers in all EU countries to secure more voluntary returnees.
Great advantage for asylum applications
More returns are also important because EU countries’ asylum systems are under pressure, Johansson said. The number of asylum claims in 2022 increased by almost 50% to 924,000 compared to the previous year. In addition, there are four million refugees from Ukraine who do not need to apply for asylum in the EU. According to Johansson, most asylum applications were made in Germany, France, Spain and Austria. Regarding the number of inhabitants, Cyprus, Austria and Greece are particularly overloaded.
EU summit in February tackles migration issue
Interior ministers from EU countries will also talk about cooperation with third countries in the case of returns at a meeting in Stockholm this Thursday. In February, an EU summit in Brussels will address the issue of migration.