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Common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (recast)

EESC opinion: Common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (recast)

The EESC welcomes the Commission's efforts to speed up returns, but regrets that the recast was not supported by an impact assessment and/or public consultation on the existing Directive 2008/115/EC.

The EESC believes that an effective returns policy should be part of a truly common policy and legislation for legal migration and for asylum, which is currently missing, giving the impression that the EU adopts a purely security and policing-focused vision of migration as a criminal matter. Such a comprehensive common EU migration policy would also be the best answer to the extreme right-wing and nationalist discourse on migration.

The EESC welcomes the Commission's efforts to making the return procedure quicker and more efficient. Even so, consideration should be given to how realistic the proposed time-scales are and an assessment made of the obstacles that could frustrate this intention.

The EESC sees an effective returns policy as being linked to a process of effective collaboration with third countries and the concluding and implementing of readmission agreements; it calls on the Commission to make further efforts and the Member States to make the most of these arrangements.

The EESC also mentions best practices applied in some EU countries to prevent illegally-staying foreign nationals from falling into a chronically irregular situation. Such best practices include granting residence permits on exceptional grounds of strong social, work or family ties (arraigo) in Spain or the Duldung provision in Germany.