Last month, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) organised the final events of the Forced-Return Monitoring III project.
The aim of the project was to increase the operational and procedural effectiveness of the Frontex pool of forced-return monitors and to support the national forced-return monitoring systems in EU Member States.
The FReM III project, launched in December 2018, was jointly implemented by Frontex, ICMPD, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and 22 Member States. It was co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union.
Forced return monitors observe and report on return operations coordinated or supported by Frontex, from the pre-departure phase until the handover of returnee(s) in the country of return. The pool of monitors was established as a subsidiary mechanism to the national monitoring mechanisms. In 2021, Member States organised 315 forced returned operations by charter flights, 56% had monitors on board, most of them from the Frontex pool that were deployed upon Member States’ request. The Agency established the pool of monitors in 2017.
Already now, Frontex assists Member States in the return of one in every five persons who had no right to remain in the EU. Last year, despite numerous restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Frontex assisted in returning more than 12,000 people not entitled to remain in the EU upon decision of the relevant national authorities.