Dutch Oppose EU on Voluntary Return for Rejected Asylum Seekers 

The Dutch government is opposing any new legal framework from the European Union which might give additional rights to rejected asylum seekers on the basis of their voluntary return to their country of origin. 

“It would possibly provide more rights to those who have exhausted legal proceedings and have no right to stay in our countries,” the government is recorded as saying in an internal EU document dated 9 September which was leaked and then seen by the EUobserver.

The Netherlands says that the proposal could make it more difficult for the Dutch authorities to force people to return to their own country. “Additionally, it detracts from the main rule that countries must take back their citizens,”  it said according to the document.

Currently estimates suggest that only a third of migrants ordered to leave EU territory actually do so – with research from the the European Court of Auditors ECA finding that ratio drops to less than one in five when the country migrants are told to return to is outside the European continent

The European Council asked member states for their input on broadening the role of the EU’s border agency Frontex in returning and reintegrating migrants and asylum seekers.

EU member states struggle with a low rate of voluntary returns often because of fragmented procedures, and a lack of cooperation from non-EU countries.

In 2019, EU countries issued more than 490,000 return decisions for migrants whose applications had been refused, but just a fraction of those actually left voluntarily.

“Frontex will become the European Union’s returns agency,” the European Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas, said in late April.

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