The European Commission urges Member States to expel a large number of irregular migrants.
Brussels estimates that there are approximately 1 million people in the EU who should be returned to their countries of origin, according to the plan to accelerate foreign returns presented on Thursday.
The European Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, has called for the main recommendation contained in this initiative to increase expulsion rates: to extend the periods of detention of irregular migrants.
“In some countries, the legal internment periods are much lower than those allowed by the European directive. They are not enough to complete the processes of readmission of these migrants “, the curator argued.
The recommendation to Member States, is based on estimates that put the number of potential candidates for expulsion above one million.
This is included in the action plan to accelerate these returns. Although community sources warn that this is an estimate, not a precise number, the document provides data suggesting that the number could be higher.
Only in the last two years the EU has received 2.6 million asylum applications. Considering that the rate of recognition of these claims is around 57%, all the rest is in the area of which Brussels considers that they should be deported.
The estimate does not include those who irregularly enter the EU but choose not to seek asylum. With European rules, all of them must be sent back to their countries.
Brussels is trying to intensify this dynamic of deportations while stressing the need to protect asylum seekers; those fleeing war or persecution.
“Returns are part of migration policies and are not implemented as effectively as they should,” argue these official sources. The EU is currently deporting 36% of migrants with expulsion orders, according to Eurostat, the Community Statistical Office.
This figure for 2015 is a small decrease compared to 2014. And the figure remains at 27% excluding expulsions to the countries of the Balkans, with which the EU has signed readmission agreements to facilitate the process.
The Commission partly attributes these percentages to the scarce use which Member States make of the possibility of retaining migrants who obstruct their expulsion processes or plan to escape.
Brussels assures that no country envisages in its legislation the maximum times allowed by the European directive of expulsion established at six months after the initial retention, which can be extended to a maximum of 18 months in extreme cases.
Despite launching such generic reproaches, the Commission refuses to detail the legal limits set by each country. In Spain and France those limits are 60 days.
In view of the highly inflammatory nature of the immigration debate, the community executive opts to promote the expulsion of foreigners without asylum.
Brussels understands that expelling those who do not require international protection makes it possible to dedicate all resources to welcoming and integrating those who have arrived in Europe due to war or persecution.
The lines outlined by the Commission do not require any legislative change. These are recommendations to Member States to increase the number of expulsions at a time when there is a significant increase in the arrival of people to the continent.
To support this work, the EU Executive will spend an extra 200 million euros this year.
Nevertheless, the main obstacle to the expulsion of those who do not get asylum status lies in the lack of agreements with their countries of origin. Brussels have signed 17 readmission agreements, but in some cases they are not fully implemented, as recognized in the action plan.
The Commission is working on signing other such pacts to facilitate expulsions. There is one practically finished with Belarus and another very advanced with Nigeria.
At this point it is not clear how the European Commission intends to carry out the expulsions if they are not sure how to locate the more than one million illegal immigrants that they wish to deport.