Forced-Return Monitoring

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)

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 Member States based on specific national needs.

Summary: FReM III will provide a final management structure and procedures for the pool of forced-return monitors, contributing to its sustainability, improved day-today management and independence. The operational and procedural effectiveness and efficiency of the pool of forced-return monitors will be enhanced by improved communication, information and reporting tools. The full management 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 of forced-return monitors. Furthermore, Member States will be supported with targeted needs-based national activities, enhancing their monitoring capacity, and facilitating the further implementation of the EU Return Directive (2008/115/EC).    

Fundamental rights training and awareness-raising on monitoring will be organised for return enforcing institutions in Member States, 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 will receive training in forced-return monitoring, contributing to the smooth implementation of such operations in line with international fundamental rights standards and principles.  

Main Target Group and Direct Beneficiaries: forced-return monitoring bodies in project partner countries and selected third countries, forced-return escorts in Member States, and relevant Frontex units. 

Donors: EU (AMIF fund) and project partner countries

Implementing Agency: The project is implemented by ICMPD in close co-operation with the partner countries, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

Project 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

Duration: 30 months (1 December 2018 – 31 May 2021)

Project Outputs