The EU’s border agency, Frontex, has been given new powers to oversee the deportation of illegal immigrants.
In a new strategy revealed by the European Commission on Tuesday, Frontex will be at the centre of new plans to send illegal migrants home once they are denied entry into Europe.
“Frontex will become the European Union’s returns agency,” said European Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas on the new move.
“There will be no European policy for migration and asylum without a significant returns procedure.”
Schinas added that the EU had failed to deport many migrants, and that in 2019, while around 500,000 deportation orders were issued, only 142,000 individuals actually left.
“We’re managing roughly one third of those who should leave,” he said.
He said that this border agency would oversee deportations “under European humane and values-driven procedure”.
Additionally, Frontex will be there to assist EU member-states persuade and incentivize illegal immigrants to return to their countries of origin, planning to train “return councillors” in each member state. According to the EU, forcibly deporting someone allegedly costs around €3,414, whereas encouraging them to leave voluntarily, they say, only costs €560, including free flights, payments, and other small incentives to leave.
Additionally, the European Commission said it may impose visa restrictions on countries which are not willing to take their illegal migrants back.