Sustainable voluntary return and reintegration strategy

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EESC opinion: Sustainable voluntary return and reintegration strategy

This opinion provides with the EESC's views on the new EU Strategy on voluntary return and reintegration, a key objective under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The EESC welcomes the strategy as a management tool that seeks to improve coordination and Member States' shared objectives in the field of migration governance. It also agrees with the Commission's approach of further reviewing and harmonising the existing instruments, in order to, among other things, improve the fragmented approach to the issue, reduce the costs of return and increase the funding allocated to programmes. The EESC however continues to hold the view that the strategic weakness of the European Union's immigration and asylum policy is its almost exclusive focus on tackling irregular situations, whether at the border or through voluntary and forced returns. To that end, it again calls on the Commission to review its reference framework and effectively work towards an integrated approach to immigration and asylum policy that promotes orderly, legal and safe mobility. The EESC also doubts the effectiveness of some of the proposals put forward by the Strategy, such as the issue of sponsored return and it expresses concerns about the future role of Frontex,  and demands the establishment of flexible and effective accountability mechanisms for Frontex's activities, as well as ensuring that they are carried out with respect for human rights.