Migrants entering an airplane

The EPP Group is in favour of all measures which help illegal migrants in Europe to return to their home countries and start a new life there.

"All the tools provided by the Return Directive, for either enforced or voluntary returns, should be used by Member States to make returns of illegally-staying third country nationals more effective. Voluntary returns are more efficient and more sustainable returns. Voluntary returns also make reintegration more successful", underlined Jeroen Lenaers MEP, the EPP Group's Spokesman on Civil Liberties and Home Affairs, after the presentation of the sustainable voluntary return and reintegration strategy by the European Commission.

Many Member States encounter difficulties and obstacles in return procedures due to different national practices and different degrees of cooperation of countries of origin. Every year on average, more than 300,000 asylum applications are refused, but only one third actually go back through enforced and voluntary returns. However, according to the figures from 2019, only 19% of the returns were assisted returns - persons returned received logistical, financial or other material assistance. 81% were non-assisted returns.

"There are several reasons why voluntary returns are the preferable solution for returning irregular migrants: the voluntary choice is based on an informed decision and is more likely to be viable. It facilitates swifter cooperation on readmission, provides better reintegration prospects in the interest of both the returning migrant and the country where the person returns to and it is more cost-effective than a forced return”, concluded Lenaers.


The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 175 Members from all EU Member States

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