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2 May 2022 Call for Researchers for the Joint Study Group 2022: Reassessing EU’s Approach on Returns and Readmission Cooperation With its Southern Neighbourhood Partners

As part of the project EuroMeSCo: Connecting the Dots, co-funded by the European Union and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), we are opening calls for researchers to take part in five different Joint Study Groups.

The EuroMeSCo Joint Study Groups 2022 will be made up of four Authors, including a Coordinator, who will jointly produce a Policy Study over a period of 6-7 months. Interested researchers may apply as Author or as Author and Coordinator to each Joint Study Group. In both cases, they will have to complete the online form and submit their application by 18 May (included).

Here is a brief description of the rationale of this Joint Study Group:

Reassessing EU’s Approach on Returns and Readmission Cooperation With its Southern Neighbourhood Partners

Improving return and readmission is one of the five priorities under the “deepening international partnerships” pillar of the EU New Pact on migration and asylum. Yet, the track record of EU’s return and readmission approach with third countries, has been routinely challenged by academic or institutional observers alike. A report by the European Court of Auditors released in 2021, identifies the main shortcomings and limitations. The cooperation with EU’s Southern Neighbourhood partners is particularly difficult. By 2021, 19 readmission agreements of the EU with third countries had been negotiated; none with EU’s Southern Neighbourhood partners. The EU received a mandate to negotiate such agreements with Morocco (in 2000), Algeria (in 2002), Tunisia (2914) and Jordan (2015). Although the entry into force of such readmission agreements does not necessarily have a major impact on the return rates (Stutz & Trauner, 2021), the lack of progress illustrates major misunderstandings between the EU and its SN partners and problem of cooperation between EU institutions and member states on readmission and return. Moreover, EU’s Southern Neighbourhood partners continue to dislike the EU’s conditionality approach. Under the revised Visa Code, the European Commission proceeds to an annual assessment of cooperation on readmission with non-EU countries and reports to the European Council, which is then entitled to make decisions on restricting or expanding certain provisions of the Visa Code (i.e., length of validity of the visas issued, the level of visa fees applicable etc.). The first assessment was delivered in February 2021 in the form of a Communication.

Based on a thorough mapping of existing and ongoing research on return and readmission, this Joint Study Group could look into the causes and consequences if an underperforming cooperation and will formulate recommendations on how to improve it. The Policy Study will also investigate the links between EU’s readmission and return policy to its Southern Neighbourhood partners and the readmission and return policies of the latter, that have indeed become important transit and destination countries themselves.

You may apply to more than one Joint Study Group but may eventually only be selected to join one of them.

See the EuroMeSCo Joint Study Groups 2022 Terms of Reference for more information.