A proposal on migration including the enforcement by Europe of returns of migrants to their countries of origin/third countries was tabled at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on Monday by Greek Alternate Citizen Protection Minister responsible for migration Giorgos Koumoutsakos.
According to a statement, the document tabled includes the following provisions:
– A more active role of the EU in the return of migrants through the augmentation of the European Border and Coast Guard’s role, to create flexible and effective processes and at the same time reduce the administrative cost of coordinating the returns.
– Using Immigration Liaison Officers in countries of migrant origins to assist in returns without obstacles and to assist in local processes.
– Providing incentives and counter-incentives to third countries, leading to collaboration in reducing migration flows. This could include trade policies with third countries, development support and creating paths for regular migration.
– Enforcing the legislative framework, including the directive for returns, the mutual recognition of return decisions, and the Schengen information system. The mutual recognition of return policies will help make them applicable in every EU country, regardless of where the decision for return was issued. (The current system foresees return to the country of entry first, then to the country of origin.) The speedy completion of negotiations for a Directive on Returns will facilitate and accelerate domestic processes in EU member states in returns management.
– Enforcing policies that help citizens returning to countries of origin reintegrate there, in order to prevent new attemps at irregular migration.
– Solidarity among EU member states in managing the migration issue, through a fair distribution of the burden.
The statement said that the Greek proposal was seen favorably by Council members and will be discussed by them.
Minister Koumoutsakos said Greece had “tabled a comprehensive proposal of managing the joint European returns, which are key to managing irregular migration.” He added, “We need a new way of thinking that will take into account today’s facts and overcome the obstacles that have led us to the current situation.”
The proposals, he said, “are realistic and can lead to the improvement of returns to Turkey in the framework of applying the EU-Turkey Joint Statement of March 2016, but mostly of the returns to countries of migrants’ origin.”