Since 2014, every year, FRA has been publishing an annual update of the forced return monitoring systems EU Member States have set up under Article 8 (6) of the Return Directive. The update describes the different indicators for an effective forced return monitoring system, including the organisation responsible for monitoring forced return, the number of operations monitored in 2019, the phases of return operations which were monitored, the number of staff trained and working as monitors, and whether the monitoring body issued public reports about their monitoring activities.
Whereas all EU Member States have some forms of return monitoring in law, in practice, gaps remain. For example, in Germany and in Sweden the main monitoring entity is closely connected to the authority responsible for returns. Without sufficient separation between the two, a monitoring system cannot be effective.
In some EU Member States, only very few operations are monitored or the monitoring does not cover all phases of return.
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 for some time but gaps reemerge when funding comes to an end.
The table below compares developments in EU Member States and the United Kingdom over the past five years. The overview does not cover the pool of forced return monitors under the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex.
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 and the United Kingdom are not bound by the Return Directive (2008/115/EC).
** In Germany, Slovakia and Sweden, in 2016, 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.
*** In France, the “Contrôleur général des lieux de privation de liberté” did not monitor any forced return operations during 2016.
Source: FRA, 2020
Find additional data on forced return monitoring systems in our interactive data explorer.
The information on this page is up to date as of 2 July 2020.