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Why EU is considering new travel document to speed up return of irregular non-EU residents

Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament has endorsed the European Commission’s proposal for a standard EU travel document to speed up the return of irregular non-EU residents.


The Committee members highlighted that many EU countries are currently facing serious difficulties in returning these residents to their home countries in a safe and lawful way.

The text, drafted by Jussi Halla-aho, points out that the destination countries acceptance of the substitute documents used by member states today is low, for reasons that include inadequate security details and varying formats.

“The low enforcement-rate of return decisions is detrimental to the credibility and legitimacy of the European asylum and immigration policy in the eyes of our citizens, and it also encourages abuse of the asylum system. While the common European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals is no magic solution, it is one small piece in the puzzle and one step in the right direction,” said Mr Halla-aho.

If approved by the European Parliament, a common format for the European travel document will be produced. Its new technical details would also include personal information such as name, age, gender and distinguishing marks as well as a passport photograph, in order to combat counterfeiting and falsification.

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