This week, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, supported Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands in voluntary return of 50 people to Iraq. Germany was the organising country.
This was the first time Frontex has assisted in a joint voluntary return via charter flights and the largest recent activity to Iraq.
“The charter flight from Germany was organised under the COVID-19 conditions, which proves that Frontex stands ready to support member states even in the most challenging times,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.
“We were glad to see member states cooperating together and with Frontex, in order to accomplish this activity to a challenging destination. With our enhanced mandate, we are happy we can support national authorities in this area as well,” he added.
Frontex has been providing technical assistance to national authorities in voluntary returns since December 2019, when Frontex’s expanded mandate entered into force.
Frontex can charter planes or cover the costs for chartering planes for this purpose and can also support the acquisition of travel documents for persons who are being returned. In the future, the agency will also help in the post-return phase.