Types of expulsion operation

In this section:

Frontex is not responsible for decisions on whether to remove an individual from the EU or not. The legislation governing the agency – and the agency’s own promotional material – is keen to emphasise that it cannot enter into the merits of return decisions and that it must respect fundamental rights, EU law and international law in its work.[1] What Frontex has been able to do since it was founded in 2004 is provide support for national expulsion operations. Initially its mandate only concerned joint return operations (JROs), involving the removal of people from two or more member states on the same flight. Legal changes over the years have expanded this role, providing the possibility to finance and coordinate different types of removals. However, the agency actually began financing and coordinating both collecting return operations (CROs) and national return operations (NROs) before it had any legal mandate to do so. With the entry into force of the 2016 EU-Turkey deal, Frontex also acquired a role in ‘readmission’ operations from Greece to Turkey, and the agency has in recent years taken an increasing interest in using scheduled flights to expel people from the EU.


Joint return operations (JROs)

EU legislation on JROs has been in place since 2004.[2] Frontex describes the procedure for organising them as follows:

“If one Member State organises a return operation by air to a specific country of return and has some spare capacity on the plane, it can invite other Member States to take part. The organising Member State informs Frontex about its intention to conduct a return flight and requests the assistance of Frontex to coordinate this operation. Frontex then dispatches this information to all other Member States.”[3]

Changes introduced by the 2019 Regulation will give Frontex an increasingly proactive role with regard to JROs. While the agency has been able to request that such operations are initiated since 2016 (“5-10” of these were planned for 2019[4]), the 2019 rules introduce further possibilities. For example, Frontex can now provide technical and operational assistance in “the collection of information necessary for issuing return decisions,” and the identification of individuals subject to removal proceedings.[5] Frontex will also take over the operation and development of two databases designed to enhance the efficiency of the removal process and the agency’s oversight over the situation in the member states (see ‘A centralised deportations database’).

Figure 3: Individuals deported via JROs, 2007-18


Collecting return operations (CROs)

In a CRO, “the means of transport and escort officers are provided by the non-EU country of destination” – in essence, the EU outsources the infrastructure and staffing requirements to another country.[6] Deportees from each participating member state are taken to the organising member state, from where the flight departs. Escorts from non-EU countries due to take part in CROs “are trained by the agency to comply with EU standards, including on fundamental rights.”[7]

CROs were first used in 2014, when Frontex announced them under the banner of ‘Self-Collection – A New Way of Returns’.[8] The agency underscored the rationale for such operations: “the fact that escorts speak the same language as the returnees promotes communication and reduces the need for restraint. It is also more cost-effective.”[9] Further advantages apparently include “higher acceptance”, “fewer incidents” and “organisational advantages (landing permit)”.[10] However, there would be no formal legal basis for this type of operation until the 2016 Frontex Regulation came into force.[11]

In May 2015, following an enquiry into Frontex’s role in forced removals, the European Ombudsman said that the agency needed to publicly explain their legal framework; the “working arrangements concluded in accordance with Article 14(2) of the Frontex Regulation”;[12] and “how Frontex complies with its own human rights obligations in fulfilling its role as coordinator of Collecting JROs.” The Belgian Federal Migration Centre, on the other hand, argued in a submission to the inquiry that: “As the EU legal framework does not explicitly provide for Collecting JROs, this practice should be suspended until it has been subject to a broad debate within the European and national parliaments and civil society.”[13]

The agency responded to the Ombudsman by referring to the “considerable care in selecting states with which Collecting JROs are performed,” and underlined that “attention is paid to fundamental rights concerns” when working arrangements are concluded with non-EU states. It also committed to “amend the text about JROs on its website by including the requested information to the extent possible.”

There remains very little information available on the agency’s website, while neither the 2016 nor 2019 reforms to the agency’s legal basis provide any significant degree of clarity. The legislation merely states that CROs may take place, the executive director should draw up a plan for their implementation, and all such operations must be monitored. So far, five countries have participated in CROs – Albania, Georgia, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine.[14] Only three of the working arrangements that Frontex has concluded with those countries (Albania, Montenegro and Serbia) refer to cooperation on expulsion operations.[15]

Figure 4: Individuals deported via CROs, 2014-18


National return operations (NROs)

The Regulation governing Frontex that came into force in 2016 introduced the possibility for the agency to assist member states with coordinating and financing NROs – that is, expulsion operations involving just one member state. However, as with CROs, the agency’s activities were ahead of its legal basis – it began financing NROs in January of that year, long before negotiations on the forthcoming legislation had even concluded.

Between January and October 2016, the agency paid out €3.6 million for expulsion operations from Germany, Denmark, Austria and Luxembourg to destinations including Afghanistan, Gambia, Mali, Morocco and Tunisia. In a report on the agency’s accounts for 2016, the European Court of Auditors (ECA, “the independent guardian of the financial interests of the citizens of the Union”[16]) described these payments as “irregular” – although they would not comment further on whether the expulsion operations themselves might be described this way. An opinion drafted for the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee by Greek MEP Kostas Chrysogonos called them “illicit”,[17] although this was toned down to match the ECA’s wording in the final version.[18]

Although there was no clear legal basis that allowed Frontex to finance NROs, this obstacle was overcome by a Decision of Frontex’s Executive Director, Fabrice Leggeri, signed on 23 March 2016.[19] The Decision was adopted in response to policy documents adopted by the European Council and the European Commission. It notes that the Commission’s September 2015 Action Plan on Return “urged Frontex to provide on-the-spot operational and information support on return to frontline Member States, including the organisation, coordination and co-financing of return operations to countries of origin or transit and other return related activities.” Furthermore, Frontex’s budget had been increased “for the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Return,” says the Decision.

There was no mention of NROs in either the Action Plan or the Council Conclusions cited by the Executive Director’s Decision. Nevertheless, as there was no clear definition of ‘joint return operation’ in any of the legislation governing Frontex, Leggeri decided that it would include:

“Return operations from one frontline Member State with hotspots, or from one Member State facing a disproportionate number of persons staying irregularly in its territory due to the specific and disproportionate migratory pressure at the external borders, as they serve the common interest of all EU Member States.”[20]

The agency boasted about this shift in its Annual Activity Report 2016.[21] However, as policy documents, neither the Council Conclusions nor the Action Plan provided a legal basis for the agency’s actions and the legislation governing Frontex at the time did not offer the Executive Director the ability to launch new types of expulsion operation.[22] The Action Plan was clear that in the immediate term, the agency was supposed to launch more JROs. In the long-term, the plan was to amend Frontex’s legal basis – precisely as was done in October 2016. Fundamentally, the Decision signed by Leggeri, which established new competences for Frontex, was not in accordance with the legal framework. Rather than “irregular”, ‘unlawful’ may be a more appropriate way to refer to the NROs that took place in the first nine months of 2016 – acts of public administration are only lawful when permitted by law.

This was not the first time the agency decided to act outside its competences. As noted above, it began financing and coordinating CROs before there was any legal basis to do so. It also began to process personal data for the purpose of carrying out JROs in 2010, despite the fact it was legally unable to do so until the 2011 legal amendment.[23] Beyond the context of expulsion operations, it also began operating the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) long before the legal basis for that system came into force in 2013.[24] This enthusiasm for new activities for which there is no clear legal basis make clear the need for close and critical scrutiny of the agency’s activities.

Figure 5: Individuals deported via NROs, 2016-18


“Readmission” operations

The EU-Turkey Statement, agreed 18 March 2016, aimed to “break the business model of the smugglers” transporting people from Turkey to Greece, “and to offer migrants an alternative to putting their lives at risk”.[25] The first point of the statement promised the return of all irregular migrants arriving on the Greek islands after 20 March 2016 to Turkey. These expulsions are carried out through “readmission” operations.

Responsibility for these operations ultimately lies with the Greek authorities, but Frontex plays a significant role. Between December 2016 and April 2017, it concluded a series of contracts worth a total of €4.45 million with bus and ferry companies: the former were for transfers of people due to be ‘readmitted’ to Turkey from one place to another on the Greek islands;[26] the latter for services “mainly associated with the corresponding transfers by sea between one designated port of departure in Greece and one designated port of arrival in Greece/Turkey.”[27] Frontex provides training for the escort officers who will be deployed on those ferries, covering issues such as the law of the sea, fundamental rights, the role of monitors, and the different phases of readmission operations.[28] The agency has also announced its intention to start conducting readmission operations from Greece to Turkey by air,[29] although these have been taking place since at least the second half of 2018.[30]

The agency’s work is part of Joint Operation Poseidon, the aim of which is to “provide increased technical and operational assistance to Greece, control irregular migration flows, to tackle cross border crime and to enhance European cooperation on coast guard functions,”[31] as well as assisting with returns and readmissions,[32] including by providing funding for transfers of people from other Greek islands to Lesvos, from where they are mainly taken by ferry to Turkey.[33] Between April 2016 and June 2019, 1,969 individuals were returned under the Statement in 143 readmission operations (104 by sea and 39 by air).[34] Frontex was present on the islands before the EU-Turkey Statement was signed, however, deploying “screening officers on the islands of Lesbos and Kos to… play a role in helping the Greek authorities to determine the nationality of the incoming migrants in order to identify and register them,”[35] as part of the “hotspot approach”.[36]


Charter flights: an expensive business

Deportation is an expensive business, in particular if the chosen method is removal by charter flight – as is the case for JROs, CROs and NROs. Equally, as noted above, the ‘readmission operations’ from Greece to Turkey carried out by sea have also required the chartering of ferries. With regard to flights, the average cost to the EU to deport an individual via a Frontex-coordinated operation between 2009 and 2018 was, according to the figures analysed for this report, just under €3,000.[37] An average flight during that period carried 75 deportees and cost a total of over €224,000.

Figure 6: Average expenditure per deportation flight, 2009-18

The costs for expulsion operations to different countries, however, can vary widely. The destinations with the lowest costs are those closest to the EU, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina (around €940 per person), Montenegro (around €1,000 per person), Serbia (€1,400), Kosovo (€1,600), Macedonia (€1,800) and Albania (€2,000). These are countries to which EU member states regularly deport people and, aside from their geographical proximity, more well-established relations with the national authorities are likely to contribute to lower costs.

At the other end of the scale are more distant destinations. In 2016, Frontex paid Denmark more than €150,000 for a National Return Operation that deported two people to Somalia – over €75,000 per person. Removal operations to Azerbaijan coordinated and paid for in 2017 and 2018 expelled 12 people from the EU at an average cost of almost €14,500 per person. Since 2011, over 1,600 people have been deported to Pakistan on Frontex flights, with an average cost per person of over €8,300. Removal flights to Nigeria have been going on slightly longer (since 2009). The average amount per deportee paid by Frontex over that period has been almost €6,000.

Figure 7: Average expenditure per deportee, 2009-18

Despite their cost, however, charter flights pose numerous advantages to states wishing to keep deportations out of sight and out of mind of the public. A 2013 report by Corporate Watch highlighted some of the reasons why the UK has been so keen to use charter flights for deportations. They are useful for meeting targets (the UK introduced charter flight deportations in 2000, when “then Home Secretary Jack Straw set the first known deportation targets, aiming to deport 30,000 people in 2001-2”). They assist in stifling rebellion (there are no other passengers on the flight to whom deportees can appeal for assistance). It has been claimed they have a “deterrent effect” on would-be irregular migrants, although there is no evidence this is the case. They are also used as a foreign policy tool – Corporate Watch explained that charter flights “only go to a select number of countries where the UK has specific agreements with partner governments.”[38] The case of flights from the EU to Afghanistan is instructive in this regard – following the signing of the ‘Joint Way Forward’ in October 2016, the number of deportations coordinated and paid for by Frontex to that country increased significantly.

Destination Total deportees, 2009-18 Average expenditure per deportee
Somalia 2 €75,092.52
Uzbekistan 6 €23,076.68
Azerbaijan 12 €14,437.98
Sri Lanka 40 €12506.67
Guinea 49 €11,922.76
Gambia 81 €10,020.86
Afghanistan 862 €9,303.79
Pakistan 1628 €8,318.50
Iraq 291 €6,576.67
Bangladesh 133 €6,388.02
Nigeria 5128 €5,888.10
Ukraine 98 €5,734.83
Democratic Republic of the Congo 156 €5,202.85
Ghana 76 €5,106.53
Lebanon 70 €3,856.27
Senegal 206 €3,493.60
Sudan 40 €3,473.68
Egypt 265 €3,414.71
Vietnam 112 €3,386.77
Armenia 268 €3,362.05
Georgia 1983 €3,286.51
Mongolia 124 €2,996.57
Russia 444 €2,844.99
Tunisia 4407 €2,656.11
Albania 6592 €2,048.98
Macedonia 783 €1,851.15
Kosovo 5710 €1,608.21
Serbia 3068 €1,421.36
Montenegro 123 €1,033.10
Bosnia & Herzegovina 77 €939.18

Table 2: Average expenditure per deportee by most to least expensive destination, 2009-18

The average expenditure by Frontex per deportee has declined over time, although the cost per flight has, overall, increased.[39] Frontex has taken a number of measures to try to ensure ‘value for money’ in its removal operations. In December 2017 the agency signed two contracts with the companies AS Aircontact (from Norway) and Air Charter Service Limited (from the UK) to carry out charter flights. The aim of the agreements is: “Provision for Frontex the chartered aircraft, properly manned, maintained, equipped, fuelled and fully insured, in order to carry out the short notice return flights.”[40] The first contract is worth €18 million and is for planned missions; the second, worth €2 million, is for “short notice missions”. Both the contracts initially lasted for a year and were renewable up to three times, for 12 months each time.

In September 2019 the agency posted another tender notice, this time for a framework contract that would involve at least three and up to 10 different companies, for “Short Notice Chartering of Aircraft for Frontex Operational Activities”. The services provided will be mainly used for organising “emergency return flights” when there is no availability of aircraft under the existing contracts. The framework contract (FWC) itself would merely establish broader terms and conditions, with individual contracts to be signed for each particular expulsion flight – that is to say, the companies chosen to participate in the framework contract would make bids to conduct any given “emergency” deportation flight. The notice states: “The provision of specific charter will be organised following the calls for competition for establishment of the specific contracts under this FWC”[41] – a sort of ‘deportation auction’. The framework contract is intended to last for 12 months, may be being renewed up to three times and has a maximum value of €10 million. The closing date for offers was in November 2019, but at the time of writing the names of the companies awarded the contract had not been published.


Removal by scheduled flight

Perhaps because of the high cost of charter flights, Frontex has also begun to assist the member states with the organisation and financing of deportations via normal, scheduled, flights – the type that a person might take to go on holiday or a business trip. The European Commission’s March 2017 ‘Renewed Action Plan’ on returns said there was an “urgent need” for the agency to provide a “mechanism for assisting the Member States in carrying out return by commercial flights,” for both ‘voluntary’ and forced expulsions.[42]

Frontex thus launched a pilot project to assist national authorities with “the booking and purchase of flight tickets at special condition for escorted returnee(s) and unescorted returnee(s).” The first removals as part of this project, to Algeria and Morocco, took place in December 2017. In the following six months:

“a total of 290 returnees were returned to Algeria, Morocco, Bosnia and Herzegovina, fYROM, Kosovo, Serbia and Albania with the use of Frontex-supported scheduled flights. Belgium and Germany were the most active Member States in the Pilot Project.”[43]

It appears that the project was extended to run for the rest of 2018, as in the latter half of the year a further 1,187 people were deported via scheduled flights to 49 different destinations, with the participation of 16 member states. Of those removed, 283 were put on flights with escorts, while 903 boarded flights where no escorts were present. Frontex noted that:

“an increase is evident in all categories: 328% in the number of returns, 309% in the number of returnees, 600% in the number of destinations reached and 46% in the number of organising Member States. The trend suggests that the mechanism developed by Frontex is successful and bolsters the decision to make it a stable activity of the Agency offered in support to Member States’ needs.”[44]

That is precisely what Frontex has done – in January 2019 it concluded a €30 million, two-year contract with the Polish company eTravel. Frontex, through eTravel, will provide “high quality travel desk services,” such as “booking and ticketing services for the EU Member States who will organize return operations by scheduled flights with Frontex support.” The company was the only bidder for the contract, the final value of which was three times that originally foreseen by Frontex.[45] It describes itself as Poland’s biggest tourism company, providing a “service suited to the needs of every client.”[46]

Frontex has stated its intention for support for removals by scheduled flights to become “business as usual”, permitting an increase in the number of expulsions carried out. The plan for 2019 was for 500-600 expulsion operations by scheduled flights, with “1,000 TCNs to be returned.” The expected total cost was €6.3 million.[47] 


Deportations to Afghanistan

Group photo of the participants in the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, held on 4-5 October 2016. The 'Joint Way Forward' between the EU and Afghanistan was signed on 6 October.

A deportation flight from Denmark to Afghanistan in September 2016 was the first to that country coordinated or financed by Frontex, and was also one of the “irregular” NROs highlighted by the European Court of Auditors. With the entry into force of the new Frontex Regulation in September 2016 and, the following month, the ‘Joint Way Forward on migration issues between Afghanistan and the EU’,[48] more expulsions were to come.

In December 2016 a further three flights (from Sweden, Germany and Finland) departed for Kabul. A total of 53 people were deported to Afghanistan via Frontex flights in 2016. That number increased six-fold in 2017 (to 314) and grew again in 2018 (to 495). These removals have prompted protests, with campaigners emphasising that the country remains unsafe. In Sweden, young refugees protesting against their expulsion wrote to the director of the Swedish Migration Agency to ask: “Is Sweden really a moral country when you say to Swedes not to travel to Afghanistan when it is dangerous, but you think it's safe for us young people to live there?”[49]

In October 2017, a year on from the signing of the Joint Way Forward, the Director of the Afghanistan Migrants Advice & Support Organisation (AMASO) told the European Council on Refugees and Exiles that “the deal is not sustainable, not even efficient,” because of the ongoing violence in Afghanistan and the economic, social and political problems faced by the country. The situation for deportees was “not ideal”, and in some cases people deported “have never been to Afghanistan before, this is the group of refugees born and raised in exiles [sic] as in Norway or Sweden.” In fact, Ghafoor said, “the majority of returnees actually re-migrate because they cannot survive in Afghanistan.”[50]

AMASO has also reported receiving numerous complaints about “misbehaving, use of unnecessary force, torture and ill treatment of the Afghan asylum seekers during deportation to Afghanistan,” and has begun to cooperate with the German organisation Pro Asyl to support deportees in filing complaints to Frontex.[51] On occasion, these reports have made it to the media – in August 2018, an Afghan man being deported from Germany had his genitals “repeatedly squeezed… for prolonged periods,” by an escort. A group of escorts also used “calming techniques” which involved “pulling the man’s neck from behind while yanking his nose upwards.”[52] 

For the EU and its member states, quite aside from the moral vacuum opened up by deporting people to a country still ravaged by war, deportations to Afghanistan are shockingly expensive. In 2016, the average cost per deportee removed on a Frontex-coordinated flight was over €14,000. This fell to just over €13,300 the following year and by 2018 had more than halved to just over €6,200 – still a hefty price tag.

Figure 8: Frontex-coordinated deportations to Afghanistan, 2016-18


[1] It is perhaps because of this particularly, seemingly-technical role, that the agency has on a number of occasions been referred to as a “deportation machine” – a phrase also used in the title of this section. It is, in effect, supposed to function as a machine, ‘automatically’ enforcing the decisions made by the national authorities of the EU member states. See: Karsten Polke-Majewski, ‘Europe's Deportation Machine’, Zeit, 6 August 2015, https://www.zeit.de/feature/refugees-in-germany-deportation-flights-laws; ‘Frontex: EU’s Deportation Machine’, Lighthouse Reports, 2 August 2019, https://vimeo.com/351673775

[2] Council Decision of 29 April 2004 on the organisation of joint flights for removals from the territory of two or more Member States, of third-country nationals who are subjects of individual removal orders, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32004D0573;

[3] Frontex, ‘Return’, https://frontex.europa.eu/operations/return/

[4] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2019-2021’, p.89, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/Programming_Document/2019/Programming_document_2019-2021.pdf

[5] Article 48(1)(a)(i), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

[6] Article 28(3) of the 2016 Frontex Regulation stipulates that Frontex can coordinate and organise return operations in which “the means of transport and forced-return escorts are provided by a third-country of return,” either at the request of a member state participating in the operation or on its own initiative. The participating member states and the Agency are equally responsible for ensuring that “the respect for fundamental rights, the principle of non-refoulement, and the proportionate use of means of constraints are guaranteed during the entire return operation,” and at least one member state representative and one forced return monitor must be present for the duration of the operation. Under Article 28(4) the agency’s Executive Director is responsible for drawing up a plan for collecting return operations and Article 28(5) sets out the binding nature of that plan on the agency and member states. The provisions are replicated in Article 50 of the 2019 Regulation.

[7] Ibid.

[8] ‘ Self-Collection — A New Way of Returns’, 24 July 2014, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/focus/self-collection-a-new-way-of-returns-P4dpos

[9] Ibid.

[10] Frontex training presentation, ‘Return support to MS by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex)’, undated, p.17, http://statewatch.org/docbin/eu-frontex-deportations-enhanced-return-support.pdf

[11] Article 28, Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 on the European Border and Coast Guard, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32016R1624

[12] Article 14 of Regulation 2007/2004 was entitled ‘Facilitation of operational cooperation with third countries and cooperation with competent authorities of third countries.’ This was succeeded by Article 54 of the 2016 Regulation and Article 72 of the 2019 Regulation.

[13] ‘Decision of the European Ombudsman closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/9/2014/MHZ concerning the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex)’, European Ombudsman, para. 24(xviii), 4 May 2015, https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/decision/en/59740

[14] Over 2,800 people have been expelled to Albania via CROs; 1,458 to Georgia; 648 to Serbia; 65 to Montenegro and 15 to Ukraine.

[15] Chris Jones, ‘Frontex: cooperation with non-EU states’, March 2017, http://statewatch.org/analyses/no-309-frontex-third-countries-agreements.pdf. See also: Frontex, ‘Non-EU countries’, https://frontex.europa.eu/partners/non-eu-countries/

[16] ECA, ‘Mission and Role’, https://www.eca.europa.eu/en/Pages/MissionAndRole.aspx

[17] Draft opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, 12 December 2017, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/LIBE-PA-613650_EN.pdf

[18] European Parliament decision of 18 April 2018 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) for the financial year 2016, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2018-0164_EN.html?redirect

[19] Decision of the Executive Director No. 2016/36 on the financing scheme for joint return operations and return related activities, 23 March 2016, http://statewatch.org/docbin/eu-frontex-deportations-ed-decision-2016-36.pdf

[20] Ibid.

[21] “Frontex started supporting Member States in the implementation of national return operations (NROs) even before the new regulation entered into force. Both the wording and the implementation of Art. 9 of the former Frontex regulation called for a more flexible approach in accordance with the EU policy on return. The ED Decision 2016/36 of 23.03.2016 adopted a broader interpretation of JROs, allowing Frontex to support more MS with NROs, not only frontline MS.” See: Frontex, ‘Annual Activity Report 2016’, p.9, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/Annual_report/2016/Annual_Activity_Report_2016.pdf

[22] Article 25, Regulation (EU) No 1168/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32011R1168

[23] Art. 11(b) and (c), Regulation (EU) No 1168/2011, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32011R1168

[24] Frontex, ‘General Report 2012’, p. 20, http://www.statewatch.org/observatories_files/frontex_observatory/2013-09-frontex-annual-report-2012.pdf; Commission Staff Working Paper determining the technical and operational framework of the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) and the actions to be taken for its establishment, SEC(2011) 45 final, p. 2, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2011/feb/eu-com-eurosur-staff-working-paper-sec-145-11.pdf

[25] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/03/18/eu-turkey-statement/

[26] ‘Poland-Warsaw: Framework contract for passenger ferry transfer services’, 2017/S 130-265067, 11 July 2017, https://ted.europa.eu/

[27] ‘Annex II – Terms of reference’, p.3, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-documents.html?cftId=1909. The contract award notice is available here:  Poland-Warsaw: Framework contract for the provision of passenger transfer services by land; lot 1 — Lesvos; lot 2 — Chios; lot 3 — Kos, 2017/S 001-000007, https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:7-2017:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0

[28] Reference to Batch 7 – Greece-Turkey readmission materials documents

[29] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2019-2021’, p.87, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/Programming_Document/2019/Programming_Document_2019_2021.pdf

[30] Frontex evaluation report, ‘Return Operations 2nd Semester 2018’, 31 May 2019, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/

[31] Frontex, ‘Joint Operation Poseidon 2017’, 22 February 2018, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/photos/joint-operation-poseidon-2017-SOyIfl

[32] European Commission, ‘EU operations in the Mediterranean Sea’, 4 October 2016, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/securing-eu-borders/fact-sheets/docs/20161006/eu_operations_in_the_mediterranean_sea_en.pdf

[33] Fronetx, ‘Operation Poseidon (Greece)’, undated, https://frontex.europa.eu/along-eu-borders/main-operations/operation-poseidon-greece-/

[34] Frontex, ‘Readmission activities Greece-Turkey’, undated, http://www.statewatch.org/docbin/eu-frontex-deportations-readmission-activities-gr-tu.pdf

[35] https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-offers-additional-help-to-greece-qeFedV

[36] Frontex, ‘Frontex offers additional help to Greece’, 8 September 2015, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-offers-additional-help-to-greece-qeFedV

[37] The figures included here have been calculated based on JROs, CROs and NROs with a single destination, as the data on costs provided by Frontex is not geographically disaggregated. Including data on flights with more than one destination would skew the costs by including the same figure twice (e.g. for an operation to Georgia and Armenia, both destinations would have the total cost of the operation taken into account).

[38] ‘Deportation Charter Flights: updated report 2018’, Corporate Watch, 2 July 2018, https://corporatewatch.org/deportation-charter-flights-updated-report-2018/

[39] The expenditure in these charts has been calculated using the data on expenditure for individual return operations, not the agency’s total budget appropriations for return.

[40] ‘Poland-Warsaw: Chartering aircraft and related services for return operations’, 2018/S 007-010627, Contract award notice, Ted, http://

[41] ‘Poland-Warsaw: Short Notice Chartering of Aircraft for Frontex Operational Activities’, 2019/S 177-429650, 13 September 2019, https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:429650-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML

[42] European Commission, ‘Communication on a more effective return policy in the European Union – a Renewed Action Plan’, COM(2017) 200 final, 2 March 2017, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52017DC0200

[43] ‘Frontex evaluation report – Return Operations, 1st Semester 2018’, undated, p.7, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/

[44] Ibid., p.7

[45] The agency’s procurement plan for 2019 estimated that the contract would be worth €10 million. See: Annex IX: Procurement Plan 2019 in Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2019-2021’, 18 October 2018, p.155, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/Programming_Document/2019/Programming_Document_2019_2021.pdf

[46] ‘Welcome to the world of business travels’, eTravel, http://www.etravel.pl/en/business-solutions

[47] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2019-2021’, 18 October 2018, p.89, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/Programming_Document/2019/Programming_Document_2019_2021.pdf

[48] Mirren Gidda, ‘Why Germany and Other EU Countries Can Now Deport Tens of Thousands of Afghans’, Newsweek, 11 October 2016, https://www.newsweek.com/2016/11/11/eu-migration-crisis-afghanistan-joint-way-forward-taliban-517834.html; Sune Engel Rasmussen, ‘EU’s secret ultimatum to Afghanistan: accept 80,000 deportees or lose aid’, The Guardian, 28 September 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/sep/28/eu-secret-ultimatum-afghanistan-accept-80000-deportees-lose-aid-brussels-summit-migration-sensitive. The full text of the agreement: ‘Joint Way Forward on migration issues between Afghanistan and the EU’, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2016/oct/eu-afghanstan-refugee-deal-prel.pdf 

[49] ‘Refugee youths protest Swedish deportations to Afghanistan’, The Local, 7 August 2017, https://www.thelocal.se/20170807/refugee-children-protest-swedish-deportations-to-afghanistan; Andrea Grunau, ‘Protests against latest Afghan deportations from Germany’, DW, 24 January 2018, https://www.dw.com/en/protests-against-latest-afghan-deportations-from-germany/a-42281591; David Ehl, ‘Afghans deported from Germany face violence, other perils’, DW, 26 May 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/afghans-deported-from-germany-face-violence-other-perils/a-48854746; ‘ Norway: Stop the deportation of three young unaccompanied siblings to Afghanistan’, Amnesty International, 17 June 2019, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/06/norway-stop-the-deportation-of-three-young-unaccompanied-siblings-to-afghanistan/

[50] ‘Interview with Abdul Ghafoor, Afghanistan Migrants Advice & Support Organisation on one year Joint Way Forward between EU & Afghanistan’, ECRE, 6 October 2017, https://www.ecre.org/interview-with-abdul-ghafoor-afghanistan-migrants-advice-support-organisation-on-one-year-joint-way-forward-between-eu-afghanistan/. The point about deportees ‘re-migrating’ is backed up by academic research: Liza Schuster and Nassim Majidi, ‘What happens post-deportation? The experience of deported Afghans’, Migration Studies, 1(2), pp.221-240, https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/4717/1/

[51] AMASO, 9 June 2019, https://www.facebook.com/AmasoAfg/posts/

[52] Nikolaj Nielsen and Apostolis Fotiadis, ‘’Inhumane’ Frontex forced returns going unreported’, EUobserver, 30 September 2019, https://euobserver.com/migration/146090


Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.

Report error