A survey carried out in 2020 saw the issue of return and reintegration emerging as the top policy priority of Prague Process states. Aiming to reflect this finding, the Prague Process Secretariat at ICMPD invited Frontex to take part in a webinar on return and reintegration that was organised on 4 March.
The webinar attracted nearly 200 participants from over 30 countries, various EU bodies and international organisations. It featured interventions of experts from the European Centre of Return at Frontex who provided an overview of the centre’s role and activities.
Frontex experts spoke about the agency’s pre-return support, including identification, deployments of European Return Liaison Officers (EURLO), as well as various digital tools used by Frontex for the management of return cases and statistical reporting at EU level.
Another topic was the different types of return operations supported by the agency, including charter and scheduled flights, also during the Covid pandemic.
In response to the outbreak of Covid-19, Frontex adapted its return support to the changing circumstances. The agency contributed to European Commission guidelines on return and supported Member States with information on current restrictions, safety measures and procedures for chartering of aircraft.
As part of its expanded mandate in the field of post-arrival/post-return assistance, Frontex is currently developing Joint Reintegration Services (JRS). Frontex will support Members States in offering assistance to nationals of non-EU countries after voluntary and non-voluntary return. This includes people with different profiles and backgrounds, also those vulnerable.
Last year, Frontex supported Member States in the return of more than 12 000 non-EU nationals. The agency also started supporting EU countries with voluntary returns.