MEP Halla-aho: “One part of the failure is the lack of an effective returns policy”
The European Parliament’s plenary voted today in favour of a new European unitary 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 negotiator on the proposal, was hopeful that the new document will have positive effect on the currently regrettable low returns rates “As we know, Europe has not been very successful in dealing with the migration and refugee crisis. One part of the failure is the lack of an effective returns policy, the inability to send back those asylum seekers whose application has been rejected. Only some 40 percent of return decisions are actually enforced.”
To date, many third countries are not willing to accept returns papers that are issued by many of the EU Member States because documents are often poor quality or the kind that anyone with Photoshop could have produced.
Halla-aho argues that harmonizing the format, increasing flexibility for accelerated procedures, reducing bureaucracy, costs, and waiting periods are all steps at the right direction and will hopefully contribute to higher return rates in the future: “It is crucial to act because the low returns rates seriously undermine the credibility and legitimacy of the asylum system in the eyes of our citizens.”
While Halla-aho cautiously warns of being overly optimistic he believes that new document will create concrete benefits: “While the Commission proposal is not ground breaking, it is a welcome effort to make EU return policies more effective. The proposed change is a small one but important element of the EU asylum system as it might improve the effectiveness of our cooperation with third countries in return matters”.