All EU Member States have some form of return monitoring by law. But in practice, gaps persist and independent oversight can remain an issue; for example, if the main monitoring entity is closely connected to the authority responsible for returns. Without sufficient separation between the two, a monitoring system may not be considered entirely effective. In some EU Member States, only very few operations are monitored or the monitoring is limited to the pre-return phase and does not cover in-flight and arrival phases of return. These are equally essential. Developments over the years also show that the implementation of national monitoring systems is not linear. Particularly where it is project-based or based on a temporary agreement between the authority and the monitoring entity, an adequate forced return monitoring system may be in place but gaps re-emerge when the funding ends. Also in 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic continued to considerably affect the number of returns in the EU. Consequently, return monitoring figures remained low in 2021.
The table below compares developments in EU Member States. The overview does not cover the pool of forced return monitors operating under the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex.
Fora at various airports:
Nationale Stelle zur Verhütung von Folter
Lithuanian Red Cross Society (Lietuvos Raudonojo Kryžiaus draugija) until March 2020
Notes:'Independent system to monitor forced returns in operation' means that a monitoring entity different from the authority responsible for returns has been appointed and has carried out some monitoring activities during the year.
* Ireland is not bound by the Return Directive (2008/115/EC).
** In Germany, Slovakia and Sweden, in 2017 and 2018 the monitoring body appointed by law was an agency/entity belonging to the branch of government responsible for returns. Thus, FRA considers that it is not sufficiently independent to qualify as ‘effective’ under Article 8 (6) of the Return Directive. In Germany, the effective forced return monitoring system, operated by NGOs at certain airports, covers only parts of the country.
Source: FRA, 2022
The information on this page is up to date as of 24 September 2022.