An effective and well-managed return policy is an essential part of a
comprehensive migration policy. In the EU, less than 40 % of the irregular
migrants ordered to leave the EU actually return to their country of origin or
a third country. In our Special Report 24/2019 on Asylum, relocation and
return of migrants, we identified several reasons for low returns from Greece
and Italy, and the EU in general. One of those reasons is difficulty in
cooperating with migrants’ countries of origin.
In 2015, the European Commission published an EU Action Plan on Return, in
which it recognised that an effective system of return requires the
readmission of irregular migrants to be prioritised in relations with third
countries. Readmission of own nationals is an obligation under customary
In June 2016, the Commission introduced the Migration Partnership
Framework, which embeds migration in the EU’s foreign policy. In
March 2017, the Commission launched a Renewed Action Plan on Returns
where it presented recommendations on how to make returns and
readmission more effective.
This audit will focus on the measures to improve readmission cooperation
with third countries, as introduced in the Commission’s action plans, and
assess if the EU has succeeded in enhancing cooperation with priority third
countries on the readmission of migrants.
If you wish to contact the audit team, you may do so at the following email