29th Feb 2024

Most Frontex deportations to take place from Germany, Italy

  • Most Frontex return flights will take place in Germany and Italy (Photo: Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI))
Listen to article

Most return flights carried out by the EU's border police Frontex this year will take place from Italy and Germany.

"Germany and Italy are the member states that will make use of the large majority of Frontex flights for returns in 2023," confirmed the European Commission, in an email on Wednesday (15 March).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The flights are part of wider push to get EU states to use Frontex to help return rejected asylum seekers and others ordered to leave.

Some 340,000 return decisions were issued last year. But with a return rate at 21 percent, EU states are also not demanding enough readmission requests from countries of origin, EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson told reporters in Strasbourg, earlier this week.

"We need to step up on the readmission requests," she said.

Johansson made similar comments earlier this year amid plans to leverage visa restrictions on origin countries that do not take back their nationals. That leverage is encoded in article 25a of the EU's visa law.

"One of the most important reasons behind the low EU return rates is the lack of third country cooperation," said Maria Malmer Stenegard, Sweden's migration minister.

These issues are not new.

EU and African leaders, for instance, were already at loggerheads over returns and readmission in 2015 at the Valletta Summit in Malta.

Aside making promises to work more closely together on return, readmission and reintegration, the 2015 summit had also made statements to tackle migrant smuggling.

What is new is that Frontex, a Warsaw-based agency, has had its mandate reinforced and is now set to spend some €100m this year alone on returns.

The European Commission is also banking on a police database known as the Schengen Information System (SIS) to help.

The system, which contains biometrics, starting issuing alerts on return decisions. "That means that we will have a much better position to carry out the mutual recognition of return decisions," said Johansson.

Such mutual returns could put a strain on bilateral diplomatic relations between a member state and an origin country.

But Frontex has since been deployed to Moldova, North Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro.

And plans are underway for similar deployments in Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and elsewhere, posing questions on accountability and human rights oversight.

The plans are not well received and have come to a standstill in Mauritania and Senegal. Authorities in Senegal worry the agency will breach human rights, given its legacy of abuse in the EU.

Last July, the commission had also announced new anti-smuggling partnerships with Morocco and Niger. This was followed by internal briefings that the EU wants to shore up police investigations in Niger.

It plans to do the same with Tunisia and Egypt.

Meanwhile, people with return orders in the EU at risk of absconding could also end up being detained.

In a recommendation, attached to pre-existing EU rules on return, the commission offered several alternatives to detention.

This includes requiring people to report daily to the police, surrender their passports, deposit a sum of money, as well as "the use of innovative technology."


The secrecy behind the EU's plans to 'externalise' migration

It is evident that the EU is putting substantial diplomatic and political effort into its 'externalisation' of migration plans: Niger, for example, received visits in 2022 from Ursula von der Leyen and EU commissioenrs Ylva Johannson and Jutta Urpilainen.

EU under scrutiny for bankrolling surveillance in Africa

A verdict is expected soon on the EU Commission over projects it financed to help sketchy governments abroad spy on people, which could then be used against rights defenders, journalists, and dissidents.

Germany speeds up Georgia and Morocco asylum returns

Germany is expanding agreements to return rejected asylum seekers to their countries of origin as part of a wider shift in Europe to curtail migration. Berlin has reached deals with Georgia and Morocco since December.


Ukraine refugees want to return home — but how?

Fewer than one-in-ten Ukrainian refugees intend to settle permanently outside Ukraine, according to new research by the associate director of research and the director of gender and economic inclusion at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

Latest News

  1. Belgium braces for Flemish far-right gains, deadlock looms
  2. Podcast: Hyperlocal meets supranational
  3. Von der Leyen appeals for 'new EU defence mindset'
  4. EU supply chain law fails, with 14 states failing to back it
  5. Joined-up EU defence procurement on the horizon?
  6. Macron on Western boots in Ukraine: What he really meant
  7. Amazon lobbyists banned from EU Parliament
  8. MEPs adopt new transparency rules for political ads

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us