Statewatch article: RefNo# 34347
EU: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria prioritised for "pilot initiative on return"
Statewatch News Online, December 2014
Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria will be the first targets of a “pilot initiative” on deportations that will see national and EU officials apply heavy pressure on selected countries in order to "improve the return rate in a number of specific countries of origin."

The pilot project was proposed by Italy, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council and foresees a:

"comprehensive approach… ensuring that the message to readmit their nationals would be raised with the selected third countries in all formal contacts of Ministers, High Representative, Commissioners as well as senior EU and Member States' officials with their counterparts in the pilot countries, irrespective of subject or location (Brussels, capital of pilot country, multilateral organisations, etc.)." [1]

A request for the Commission to “commence preparations” for approaching the three chosen states was made in November by the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA). [2]

SCIFA is a working party of the Council of the EU and is made up of “higher-ranking officials” of the Member States. It deals with “strategic guidelines for EU cooperation in the fields of immigration, frontier and asylum”. [3]

The Committee has suggested the Commission approach “Pakistan, and additionally Bangladesh and Nigeria, on the basis of a prioritisation, with a view to a coordinated implementation of the initiative by the EU and its Member States.”

This choice of three states goes against the Commission's recommendation to select “not more than two countries, considering overall relevance, suitability, and feasibility of making progress, during this initial pilot phase.”

The initiative is part of attempts to increase the number of people removed from the EU each year. According to a paper drafted by the Greek Presidency of the Council earlier this year, although Member States' authorities "apprehend more than 500,000 illegal migrants" each year, only "40% of them are sent back to their country of origin or transit." [4]

The Commission will work with the European External Action Service, EU delegations and “interested Member States” to try and implement the pilot project. For the Commission's part, the initiative will apparently involve officials from the home affairs, development, trade, education and culture departments.

Further reading

  • 'EU and Member States plan "pilot project" to pressure countries to admit deportees', Statewatch News Online, August 2014

    [1] 'EU and Member States plan "pilot project" to pressure countries to admit deportees', Statewatch News Online, August 2014
    [2] General Secretariat of the Council, 'Pilot initiative on return', 15960/14, 28 November 2014
    [3] Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, 'Meeting of the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontier and Asylum of the Council of the EU', 14 March 2014
    [4] Presidency, '"An effective EU return policy": Presidency's food for thought paper for the lunch discussion', 7007/14 26 February 2014

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