ECR MEP Jussi Halla-aho: “A new European travel document is part of the solution to tackle unsatisfactory return rates of illegally staying third-country nationals. “
The European Parliament’s home affairs committee voted today in favour of the creation of a new European travel document that will make it easier to return people whose asylum application has been rejected.
European Conservatives and Reformists MEP Jussi Halla-aho, who worked as a lead MEP on the proposal, was pleased with the achieved outcome but urged caution and warned about being overly optimistic: “This travel document is no magical solution to our immigration problems or even to all our returns problems. However it is one crucial piece in the puzzle and a step to the right direction.”
The proposal, which has now been agreed with EU governments, addresses the lack of uniformity and security features in the current returns documents issued by the EU member States, which often leads to the countries receiving returned economic migrants to reject them.
“By updating the existing instruments we are hopefully moving towards a system which works better and is better equipped to deal with challenges we are currently facing. Currently a major part of the challenge is ensuring rate of returns. As we have heard currently fewer than half of returns decisions are enforced.”
MEP Halla-aho underlined the fact that even though the lack of valid travel documents issued by the country of destination of the returnee has been one main obstacle to successful return it is not nearly enough to create this document: “What we urgently need along with the document is active measures towards third-countries to make this document as widely acknowledged as possible.”