The European migration policy is not working. In particular, the return of migrants who have exhausted all legal remedies is not going well. This is the conclusion of the European Court of Auditors in a report.
The Court of Audit has strongly criticized the return policy. It would even attract migrants to come to Europe. “Instead of discouraging illegal migration, there could be a situation where the failing EU policy leads to an increase in illegal migration and smuggling,” said Leo Brincat, member of the audit office.
It is a sour message for the EU countries. Migration is a difficult dossier that countries just can’t seem to get out of. When millions of people came to Europe in 2015, the countries wanted a joint solution. There has been talk of a migration pact for years, but the countries are still no further ahead. The return policy was something that the countries agreed on.
By working together at European level, the hope was that countries would achieve more results. For example, a country such as Morocco does not take back asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal remedies from the Netherlands. France and Morocco have a better diplomatic relationship and the French could possibly convince Morocco to take back migrants from all over the EU.
Most of the migrants cannot return
But after an investigation, the European Court of Auditors has come to the conclusion that this policy is not working. The EU countries only manage to return 29 percent of rejected migrants. For people coming from outside Europe, it is even only 19 percent. This is because the home countries do not accept the return of the migrants.
The problem, according to the Court of Audit, is that there is no unambiguous European policy. EU countries are still trying to do too much themselves. The negotiating countries see this and make use of it, says Brincat. “It sows confusion and shows weakness that those countries can easily take advantage of.”
The Court of Audit advises against recording too much in the European Commission. Because that means that countries such as Turkey and Morocco are less inclined to make commitments. After all, they also face a migration problem there. “If you make looser agreements, you cause less debate in the country of origin, where it can be politically sensitive,” says Brincat.
The Court of Audit advises the EU countries to cooperate better in future. “It would be best if one person spoke on behalf of all 27 EU countries,” says Brincat. “But it doesn’t look like this will ever work out.”