Posted on May 1, 2021

EU Unveils Plan to Send More Unauthorized Migrants Home

Lorne Cook, Associated Press, April 27, 2021

The European Union unveiled a plan Tuesday to encourage migrants refused entry into Europe to agree to be deported voluntarily, to persuade reluctant home countries to take them back, and to help people better reintegrate once they get there.

The new strategy foresees counselling for migrants who arrive without authorization on the benefits of returning home, smoother legal and operational procedures to deport them, and the use of development aid or visa restrictions to convince countries they leave or cross to take them back.

“It is not a secret that the European Union did not do particularly well on returns so far,” European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas told reporters. He said that around half a million people were denied permission to stay in 2019 but that only 142,000 were actually sent back.


An important part of those reforms is to address the issue of deportations, known in Brussels under the euphemism of “returns.” Only around 1 in 3 migrants denied permission to stay actually return to their home country. Of the few who do, only around 30% agree to go back willingly.

The European Parliament’s research service has estimated that it costs 3,414 euros ($4,120) to forcibly deport someone, compared to about 560 euros ($675) if they go voluntarily. {snip}

The low deportation rate is due in part to inefficient EU procedures and the reluctance of many countries that migrants leave or transit through to positively identify their nationals and allow them back in.