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Return and readmission of irregular migrants in the EU

Proposals should appraise and consider the drivers and the evidence base behind the EU’s return and readmission policies, and consider the outcome of this focus on return. Research should consider to what extent public attitudes to migration in Europe are susceptible to change in relation to success or failure in return and readmission policies. It should also appraise, if any and where relevant, the role played by return policies in deterring further irregular migration and their compliance to international law in doing so, and their consequence for the fundamental rights of migrants.

Proposals should consider negotiations between the EU and countries of origin and transit, and analyse the barriers and enablers to successful agreements. It may build a typology of reasons that limit the capacity and willingness of origin and transit countries to cooperate and engage in return policies. Proposals may also include considerations of different cooperation outcomes in bilateral relations compared to EU-wide relations on return. In addition, they should also analyse the role played by diaspora groups in shaping the positions of their countries of origin, as well as the role played by the local civil society in this process; primary and participatory research could be relevant in this regard. Proposals may also consider the trade-offs between remittances and readmission that countries of origin face. Proposals should therefore analyse the political construction of discourses on return in non-EU countries, and consider the way these impact on the positions of their governments. These analyses should shed light on the interdependencies between the different policy domains that are increasingly integrated in return and readmission policy, such as, but not limited to, development and trade. To this end, international cooperation is strongly advised, in particular with countries in Africa, and/or Asia, and/or the Middle East.

Proposals should consider policies implemented for those who cannot be returned, and bring forward alternatives. Proposals should also consider if and how return and readmission policies uphold the rights of migrants or contribute to the downgrading of their living conditions. In bringing forward policy suggestions, proposals should specify actors involved in their implementation and the financial and political costs associated to this. Multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary approaches should be favoured, to ensure all relevant perspectives are taken into account in the findings and recommendations.