EU | In search of consensus to increase deportations of illegal immigrants
Defence Redefined
Published on 26/01/2023 at 15:30

The European Union’s Interior Ministers are meeting today, Thursday (26/1), in Stockholm to discuss means to increase the return of illegal immigrants to their countries of origin, mainly through further limiting the issuance of travel documents to “non-cooperative” countries.

Swedish Interior Minister, Maria Malmer Stenergaard, said that there had been an increase in illegal arrivals and the return of those who have not received asylum in Europe is a very important issue.

Of the 340,500 return decisions made in 2021 in European countries, only 21% have been implemented, according to Eurostat figures cited by the European Commission.

The European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, attending the meeting of the Interior Ministers, commented that they have a low return rate and they need to make progress to increase the number and pace of returns.

For the Swedish Presidency of the EU Council, one of the main reasons behind the low return rate is the absence of cooperation from third countries.

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At the European level, a mechanism allowing the use of travel documents as a lever of pressure on third countries to take back their citizens was implemented in 2020.

At the moment, only one country, Gambia, has been sanctioned by the Union for “lack of cooperation”: the conditions for granting a Schengen visa to its citizens have been tightened and the fee has been increased to 120 euros compared to the average 80 euros.

The Swedish Presidency considers it important to exploit all the possibilities of this mechanism and that there are certain third countries against which rapid measures can be taken to improve the current insufficient level of cooperation.

The European Commission had proposed the imposition of restrictive measures against Iraq and Bangladesh in 2021.

According to Ylva Johansson, who visited Dhaka in November, the threat of sanctions forced Bangladesh to cooperate. The authorities of Dhaka are now politically open to receiving all their nationals, the European commissioner had assured.

EU heads of state and government had expressed their support in December 2021 for using all appropriate European tools, such as development aid, trade, and visas as levers of pressure to deal with immigration.

Source: CNN Greece

Also read: Immigration | “Bloc” of front-line immigrant-receiving countries pushes for changes




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