The return of migrants who are not welcome in the European Union is not going well. They know this very well, which is why the EU countries are encouraging them to come anyway, says the European Court of Auditors.
The Court examined whether the EU has progressed since the 2015 migration crisis in reaching agreements with countries that should receive returnees, such as Morocco. That is not enough, concludes the independent auditor, who monitors whether EU money is being spent well.
Every year half a million people are told to leave the EU. But not even one in five does. There is a lack of cooperation from the countries from which they have travelled to Europe. Making agreements with these countries remains difficult because their citizens are not waiting for that, for example. But also because the EU invariably demands that they also take back people who were only passing through and who actually come from another country.
Therefore, do not opt for formal agreements, but for more flexible agreements, advises the Court of Audit after a comparative study. Countries are easier to prod for this, and such schemes are more resistant to new developments. Even though the European Parliament and human rights organizations warn that the rights of migrants are often insufficiently guaranteed in more flexible agreements.
According to the Court of Audit, the EU is still not very successful in encouraging the return countries to cooperate with punishment and reward. As an important trading partner and donor of development aid, the EU can carry some weight, hardly using it. Certainly not the first. However, the EU countries can now pay for their cooperation when granting visas.