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Project News: FReM III organises First Annual Lessons Learned Meeting

27 June 2019

From 25-26 June, forced-return monitors and stakeholders from return enforcing institutions in Europe gathered during an annual lessons learned meeting in Bratislava. The meeting was organised within the framework of the Forced-Return Monitoring III (FReM III) project.

The aim of the meeting was to exchange experiences and good practices in implementing and monitoring forced-return operations and to increase the knowledge of the participants on specific subject matters. Within various working groups, panels and plenary discussions, participants discussed a wide range of topics including operational issues relevant for the pool of forced-return monitors (Pool). Examples ranged from the monthly Frontex calls for monitors, their selection for and deployment to specific return operations; and the current reporting procedure and tools for monitors of the Pool as well as ideas for their further improvement.

Furthermore, participants were informed about the ongoing assessment on the functioning of the Pool and discussed issues regarding the use of force and application of means of restraint and the related challenges in monitoring. Finally, participants were introduced to the various ongoing and planned FReM III training and capacity building activities; the communication, coordination and information platform for monitors; and the fundamental rights and forced-return monitoring training concept for national escorts that is being developed within FReM III.

60 representatives participated in the annual lessons learned meeting from 27 different countries and organisations including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).  The meeting was jointly organised by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in cooperation with the Office of the Public Defender of Rights of Slovakia.

The FReM III project contributes to a functioning EU Return System in line with the EU Return Directive (2008/115/EC) with two specific objectives, namely to further establish the pool of forced-return monitors in line with the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) Regulation, and to further strengthen the national forced-return monitoring systems in Member States. FReM III is implemented by ICMPD in cooperation with 22 partner countries, Frontex and FRA. The project is co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the European Union.

Download the meeting agenda here

More information of FREM can be found here