Forced-Return Monitoring (FReM)

Background

Following the entry into force of the EU Return Directive (2008/115/EC), the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) participated in 2011 in a large-scale Comparative Study on Best Practices in the Field of Forced Return Monitoring. This study analysed existing forced-return monitoring practices and institutions in Member States and put forward specific recommendations which were reflected in subsequent EC documents. Among the recommendations was the need to establish a pool of monitors across Member States. Furthermore, in 2013 ICMPD was involved in an Evaluation on the Application of the EU Return Directive (2008/115/EC). With regard to Article 8(6) the study recommended a further harmonisation of forced-return monitoring systems and addressing the weaknesses of monitoring systems in Member States.

Based on these findings, ICMPD implemented jointly with Member States, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) from 2013-2015 the Forced-Return Monitoring (FReM I) and from 2016-2018 Forced-Return Monitoring (FReM II) projects. Since December 2018, ICMPD jointly with Member States, Frontex and FRA implements the Forced-Return Monitoring III (FReM III) project. All three projects support(ed) the implementation of Article 8(6) of the EU Return Directive (2008/115/EC), requiring Member States to provide for an ‘effective forced-return monitoring system’. FReM II and III also support(ed) the establishment of a pool of forced-return monitors in line with the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation (EU 2016/1624).

FReM I was implemented in partnership with Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Switzerland and was co-funded by the EU under the European Return Fund – Community Actions 2012. The project produced clear guidelines for forced-return monitoring and a comprehensive training manual for forced-return monitors. Furthermore, the project established a pilot pool of independent forced-return monitors, available to the countries in need of implementing a forced-return monitoring system and developed a draft framework for the management of such a pool.

FReM II was implemented in partnership with Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland and was co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the EU. The project supported Frontex to establish the pool of forced-return monitors within their structures in line with the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation (EU 2016/1624) and equipped it with a comprehensive training and reporting framework. Moreover, it supported Member States to build up and strengthen their national forced-return monitoring systems through targeted national activities such as training, round tables, workshops, expert consultations and alike.

 

Forced-Return Monitoring III (FReM III)

Background and Introduction

As a direct follow-up to the FReM I and II projects, the Forced-Return Monitoring III (FReM III) project will further contribute to a functioning EU Return System in line with the Return Directive (2008/115/EC), protecting the fundamental rights of returnees through independent and transparent forced-return monitoring based on a common European approach and harmonised procedures. The project will support the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) to further establish the pool of forced-return monitors (Pool) in line with the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) Regulation. Furthermore, it will support Member States (MSs) in meeting their obligations under Art. 8(6) of the Return Directive, requiring them to provide for an effective forced return monitoring system.

The predecessor FReM I (1) and FReM II (2) projects were implemented from 2013-2018. FReM I produced clear guidelines for forced-return monitoring and a comprehensive training manual for forced-return monitors. Furthermore, the project established a pilot pool of independent forcedreturn monitors, available to the countries in need of implementing a forced-return monitoring system and developed a draft framework for the management of such a pool. FReM II supported Frontex to establish the Pool within their structures in line with the EBCG Regulation and equipped the Pool with a sound training and reporting framework. Moreover, it supported MSs to build up and strengthen their national forced-return monitoring systems through targeted national activities such as training, round tables, workshops, expert consultations and alike. 

FReM III will provide a final management structure and procedures for the Pool, contributing to sustainability, improved day-today management and independence of the Pool. The operational and procedural effectiveness and efficiency of the Pool will be enhanced by improved communication, information and reporting tools. The full management of the Pool and all procedures/activities will be handed over to Frontex by the end of the project. The training and capacity building activities foreseen in FReM III will strengthen the professional development of monitors from the Pool. Furthermore, MSs will be supported with targeted needs-based national activities, enhancing their monitoring capacity, and facilitating the further implementation of the Return Directive.

Fundamental rights training and awareness-raising on monitoring will be organised for return enforcing institutions in MSs, contributing to harmonisation of standards in this field and eventually to fundamental rights sensitive and dignified forced-return procedures. Monitors of relevant third countries participating in Collecting Return Operations (CROs) will receive training in forced-return monitoring, contributing to the smooth implementation of CROs in line with international fundamental rights and principles. The main target group/direct beneficiaries of the FReM III project are forced-return monitoring bodies in MSs and selected third countries, forced-return escorts in MSs, and relevant Frontex units.

[1] In partnership with Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Switzerland as well as Frontex and FRA. The project was co-funded by the EU under the European Return Fund – Community Actions 2012.

[2] In partnership with Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland as well as Frontex and FRA. The project was co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the EU. 

 

 

Duration and Budget

30 months (1 December 2018 – 31 May 2021). 2 million EUR: the project is 90% co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the European Union and 10% by the participating countries.

Participating Countries and Organisations

ICMPD implements the project in co-operation with the partner countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland as well as the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).

The project’s main target group and direct beneficiaries are the monitoring bodies/institutions in project partner countries responsible for effective forced-return monitoring in line with Article 8(6) of the EU Return Directive (2008/115/EC) as well as relevant Frontex units such as the Fundamental Rights Office, the European Centre for Returns, the Training Unit and the Capability Programming Office. Moreover, the project targets forced-return escorts in MSs and forced-return monitoring bodies/institutions in selected third-countries.

Objectives

Overall objective: To contribute to a functioning EU Return System in line with the Return Directive, guaranteeing and protecting the fundamental rights of returnees through independent and transparent forced-return monitoring based on a common European framework, standards, good practices and harmonised procedures.

Specific objective 1: To increase the operational and procedural effectiveness of the Frontex pool of forced-return monitors and to hand over the full management and implementation of all activities related to the pool of forced-return monitors to Frontex

Specific objective 2: To increase the effectiveness of forced-return monitoring in MSs, based on  specific national needs.

 

Work Packages (WPs) and Expected Results

  • WP 1: Management and Coordination of the Action

WPs under specific objective 1:

  • WP 2: Operational Management of the Pool of Forced-Return Monitors

Result: assessed Pool; improved communication, coordination and information with and among monitors of the Pool; increased monitors’ awareness on return procedures and monitoring systems in other MSs; streamlined reporting process, available reporting application and database.

 
  • WP 3: Overall Management of the Pool and full Handover to Frontex

Result: increased efficiency of the management of the Pool.

 
  • WP 4: Training and Continuous Professional Development of Monitors from the Pool

Result: improved training framework for monitors of the Pool; increased capacity of the Pool.

 
  • WP 7: Capacity Building of Forced-Return Monitors in Third Countries

Result: increased capacities of monitors from third countries that cooperate in the framework of collecting return operations (CRO).

 

WPs under specific objective 2:

  • WP 5: Support to National Forced-Return Monitoring Systems in MSs

Result: improved forced-return monitoring systems in MSs.

 
  • WP 6: Fundamental Rights Training for Forced-Return Escorts in MSs

Result: increased escorts’ awareness on fundamental rights compliance in forced-return operations and on forced-return monitoring.

 

Contact

Ms Jenny Andersson

Project Coordinator

Tel: +43/1/504-46-77-2438

E-Mail: jenny.andersson@icmpd.org

 

Ms Barbara Cuzuioc-Weiss

Project Manager

Tel: +43/1/504-46-77-2382

E-Mail: barbara.cuzuioc-weiss@icmpd.org

Project Outputs