The European Court of Auditors pinned down on September 13 the policy of returning migrants led by the EU which it considers not only ineffective, but on the contrary encourages, according to it, “” irregular “immigration.
The European Court of Auditors believes that the “ineffectiveness” of European policy in ensuring the return of irregular migrants to their country of origin “encourages” irregular migration, in a report published on 13 September.
According to our🆕report:
🤝Cooperation between the #EU & non-EU countries has not been efficient in ensuring that migrants illegally present on 🇪🇺 territory return to their own countries.
During 2015-2020, EU only achieved limited progress in concluding readmission agreements.
– European Court of Auditors (@EUauditors) September 13, 2021
Of the approximately 500,000 third-country nationals who are ordered to leave the European Union (EU) each year because they entered or remain there without authorization, only a third actually return to the country of origin or transit (through voluntary or forced return). This rate drops below 20% for returns to countries outside the European continent.
In its audit report, which covers the period from 2015 to mid-2020, the Court of Auditors of the EU judges that “the actions taken by the EU to strengthen cooperation with third countries in readmission matters were relevant, but they [ont] yielded few results ”.
The inefficiency of the European Union encourages “irregular migration”
For Leo Brincat, responsible for the report, “the EU’s return system suffers from a lack of efficiency such that it produces the opposite effect to that expected: it encourages rather than discourages irregular migration “.
“Migrants know full well that returns are not effective, so this can actually encourage them to come,” he said during a press briefing.
To promote these returns, the EU has since the early 2000s concluded readmission agreements with 18 third countries (including Albania, Bosnia, Serbia, Pakistan, Georgia, Turkey, Belarus), and opened discussions with six others (Morocco, Algeria, China, Tunisia, Jordan, Nigeria). These agreements are parallel to the bilateral readmission agreements concluded by the member states.
The EU also negotiated between 2016 and 2018 six legally non-binding return and readmission arrangements (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia). According to the auditors, these non-binding arrangements are more successful, thanks to their flexible nature.
“We recommend to the Commission [européenne] adopt a more flexible approach when negotiating readmission agreements, create synergies with Member States to facilitate readmission negotiations, strengthen incentives for third countries and improve data collection on readmissions, ”they advocate in the report.
These readmission incentives must be a “carrot and stick” policy, says Leo Brincat. The auditors also note that “among the many tools available to the EU, only one has yielded tangible results: its visa policy, the revised provisions of which can help encourage third countries to cooperate”.
But Leo Brincat underlined that the situation in Belarus – accused by the Europeans of encouraging the passage of migrants to the EU in retaliation for the sanctions taken against it – showed that “if the political will is lacking, or if the third country decides to instrumentalize migration, a readmission agreement is of little use ”.
Finally, he insisted on the need for the EU to speak “with one voice” on the matter. He also considered “worrying” that the EU countries have still not succeeded, six years after the migration crisis of 2015, to agree on a reform of the asylum system, and hoped that this audit “Feeds the debate around the new EU pact on migration and asylum” presented by the European Commission in September 2020.