2nd Oct 2023

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get 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.

EU Ombudsman warns of 'new normal' of crisis decision-making

Emily O'Reilly cited the post-pandemic recovery funds, the windfall taxes on energy companies, and the joint purchase of vaccines, as procedures which received limited scrutiny from the national parliaments — as a result of emergency decision-making powers that bypassed parliament.

Latest News

  1. EU women promised new dawn under anti-violence pact
  2. Three steps EU can take to halt Azerbaijan's mafia-style bullying
  3. Punish Belarus too for aiding Putin's Ukraine war
  4. Added-value for Russia diamond ban, as G7 and EU prepare sanctions
  5. EU states to agree on asylum crisis bill, say EU officials
  6. Poland's culture of fear after three years of abortion 'ban'
  7. Time for a reset: EU regional funding needs overhauling
  8. Germany tightens police checks on Czech and Polish border

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  2. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators, industry & healthcare experts at the 24th IMDRF session, September 25-26, Berlin. Register by 20 Sept to join in person or online.
  3. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  4. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA
  5. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators & industry experts at the 24th IMDRF session- Berlin September 25-26. Register early for discounted hotel rates
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal interest in the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations – here are the speakers for the launch

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations
  2. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  3. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  4. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us