Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion

The Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion (IMEX) is one of 16 official justice and home affairs working parties in the Council, though it is unclear when and why its mandate was granted. According to the Council it “deals with issues related to entry to, exit from and integration in the EU.” For those purposes, it meets in different formats – for example, IMEX (Admission) or IMEX (Expulsion), the latter being most relevant for this project.

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Meetings

Please note: All documents listed (whether officially numbered or referred to otherwise, for example as a presentation) have been requested by Statewatch. If there is a link to the document, the request was successful or it has been obtained via other means. If there is no link to a document, the request is still pending. Where access has been refused or only partial access has been granted a note is included. Text in square brackets is an addition to the original agenda.

 


7 June 2024

(return to top)

 

1. Adoption of the agenda

[CM 3000/24]

 

2. Towards better statistics on returns

– Presentation by the Presidency

‒ Presentation by the Commission

‒ Presentation by Frontex

– Exchange of views

10412/24 (to be issued)

 

3. Visa Code Article 25a exercise

‒ Update by the Presidency, Commission and the EEAS on the state of implementation of Visa Code Article 25a

‒ Exchange of views on readmission cooperation of Iraq and Senegal

‒ Update by the Commission and the EEAS and exchange of views on readmission cooperation of other priority countries not targeted by the proposals for Council implementing decisions on the suspension of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council

 

4. Summary of the work done in IMEX Expulsion working party under the Belgian Presidency

10413/24 (to be issued) [Presidency summary of the discussions on liaison officers as partners to build a stronger common European return system]

10414/24 (to be issued) [Presidency summary of the discussions on making the return systems more effective: a reflection towards the future of the EU return policy]

 

5. Presentation of the priorities of the incoming Hungarian Presidency

 

6. AOB

– Information by the Presidency on the priorities of the Schengen cycle 2024-2025

 

7.     AOB

‒ Information by the Presidency on the compendium of national contact points for the exchange of unclassified administrative information between immigration and asylum authorities on third country nationals who may pose a security threat

 


6 June 2024

(return to top)

 

1. Adoption of the Agenda

[CM 2908/24]

 

2. Implementation of Frontex activities in the field of return

– Presentation by Frontex

 

3. Presentation of Delmi research on return policy management and implementation, with a focus on international cooperation

– Presentation by the Presidency

– Presentation by Delegation for Migration Studies (Delmi)

 

4. Visa Code Article 25a

‒ Presentation by the Presidency

– Update by the Commission

 

5. Presentation of the priorities of the incoming Spanish Presidency

 

6. AOB

Non-COMIX items

 

7. Strategic approach towards the EU readmission agreements and arrangements

‒ Update by the Commission on readmission negotiations

‒ Exchange of view on readmission cooperation

9934/23 (to be issued)

 

8. AOB

 


23 April 2024

(return to top)

 

1. Adoption of the agenda

[CM 2276/24]

 

2. Making the EU return system more effective: a continuation of the reflection towards the future of the EU return policy

– Presentation by the Presidency

‒ Presentation by the Commission

– Exchange of views

8751/24 (to be issued)

 

3. Voluntary return and reintegration – follow up on Fedasil conference held on 19-20 March 20242

– Presentation by the Presidency

– Presentation by the Commission

‒ Presentation by Frontex

‒ Exchange of views

8752/24 (to be issued)

 

4. Visa Code Article 25a exercise

‒ Update by the Commission and the EEAS on the state of implementation of Visa Code Article 25a

‒ Update by the Commission and the EEAS and exchange of views on readmission cooperation of other priority countries not targeted by the proposals for Council implementing decisions on the suspension of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council

 

5. (poss.) Visa Code Article 25a exercise – continuation of the discussion on the effectiveness of the mechanism

– Presentation by the Commission of the Staff Working Document on evaluation of the Visa Code

‒ Exchange of views

6253/24 (to be issued) [+ADD 1, ADD 2]

 

6. AOB

– Presentation of the best practises in the field of returns at the Working Party on Schengen Matters (26 April 2024) – information by the Presidency

Non-COMIX items

 

7. AOB:

Draft new Generalised Preference Scheme (GSP) Regulation – information by the Presidency

 


12 March 2024

(return to top)

Format: 1+ 2 (Presidency 2+2)

1. Adoption of the agenda

 

COMIX items

2. Making the return systems more effective: a reflection towards the future of the EU return policy

– Presentation by the Presidency

‒ Presentation by the Commission

– Exchange of views

6936/24 (to be issued) [Presidency discussion paper with the same title as the agenda item, and one of several papers issued on this theme since September 2023. This paper says that: "The Presidency deems necessary to discuss the Member States’ needs as regards the future of the EU return policy and, in particular, as regards its legal framework,” and draw conclusions. The Presidency is not aiming to restart talks on the Returns Directive negotiating mandate, "but rather to draw inspiration from it to define Member States' current needs as to the future legal framework in the area of return." Discussions in a number of fora will take place: this meeting, SCIFA on 10 April 24 and IMEX on 23 April, looking at three main issues: harmonization; creative solutions; and horizonal issues. Some further detail is provided on these.]

 

3. Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the evaluation in accordance with Article 121 of Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, with a specific focus on the section related to returns (articles 48 to 53)

‒ Presentation by the Commission [Frontex is invited to participate in this agenda subitem.]

‒ Intervention by Frontex [Frontex is invited to participate in this agenda subitem.]

‒ Exchange of views

5490/24 + ADD1+ADD2 [The Commission's report on the evaluation of Frontex, the accompanying action plan and the evaluation itself. Also discussed in meetings of SCIFA, the External Aspects of Migration Working Party and the Working Party on Frontiers, accompanied by discussion papers.]

6942/24 (to be issued) ['Presidency discussion paper on the evaluation report from the Commission on the EBCG regulation – return aspects'. The paper highlights the need for improvement on return in various ways, including by having more member state return authorities represented on the Frontex management board, more management board discussion on return, increase funding, improving coordination between the Commission and Frontex, plus numerous operational issues.]

 

4. Visa Code Article 25a exercise

‒ Update by the Commission and the EEAS on the state of implementation of Visa Code Article 25a

‒ Assessment of the level of readmission cooperation of The Gambia with a view to proceeding towards the approval of the proposal for a Council implementing Decision on repealing Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/2459 on the application of an increased visa fee with respect to The Gambia

13574/23

‒ Assessment of the level of readmission cooperation of Ethiopia with a view to proceeding towards the approval of the proposal for a Council implementing Decision on the suspension of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council with respect to Ethiopia

13582/23

‒ Update by the Commission and the EEAS and exchange of views on readmission cooperation of other priority countries not targeted by the proposals for Council implementing decisions on the suspension of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council

 

5. Visa Code Article 25a exercise – continuation of the discussion on the effectiveness of the mechanism

– Presentation by the Commission of the Staff Working Document on evaluation of the Visa Code

‒ Exchange of views

6253/24 (to be issued) [Evaluation of the Visa Code, accompanied by ADD 1 and ADD 2 REV 2]

 

6. AOB

 

Non-COMIX items

7. AOB

– Draft new Generalised Preference Scheme (GSP) Regulation – information by the Presidency

‒ Information exchange between Counter-terrorism authorities and Immigration and Asylum authorities – information by the Presidency

 


8 February 2024

(return to top)

Format: 1+ 2 (Presidency 2+2)

1. Adoption of the agenda

[CM 1204/24]

COMIX items

2. Visa Code Article 25a exercise

‒ Update by the Commission and the EEAS on the state of implementation of Visa Code Article 25a

‒ Information by the Presidency on the way forward as regards priority countries targeted by the proposals for Council implementing decisions on the suspension of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council

‒ Update by the Commission and the EEAS and exchange of views on readmission cooperation of other priority countries not targeted by the proposals for Council implementing decisions on the suspension of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council

3. Liaison officers as partners to build a stronger common European return system

‒ Presentation by the Presidency

‒ Presentation by Frontex [WK 2143/2024. Covers three different points: How do EURLOs coordinate their work with other Liaison Officers in the host Third Country?; What is the EURLOs contribution in cases of returnees with criminal background or posing a threat to national/EU security? (censored); What is the role of EURLOs in the area of reintegration? How do they monitor post post-return activities?]

‒ Exchange of views

5494/24 [Document produced by the Belgian Council Presidency, same title as the agenda item. The paper explains the different types of national and EU liaison officer and notes: "To this day, around 500 national liaison officers are deployed around the world," mainly in Europe, Asia and Africa. It discusses where and how the work of liaison officers could better-coordinated in order to improve their role in deportations and readmission.]

 

4. Outcome of the Schengen evaluations in the field of return

‒ Presentation by the Commission

‒ Exchange of views

5496/24 [A "non-paper... prepared by the Commission services. It has not been formally endorsed by the College of Commissioners. It provides an overview of the Schengen evaluations in the field of return from 2020-23, discussing persistent deficiencies (human resources, limited detention capacity, limited possible duration of detention, slow asylum decision-making) and proposes potential ways to resolve these issues. A fairly detailed overview indicating where deportation policy is likely to head in the coming months and years.]

 

5. AOB

‒ Thematic Schengen Evaluation 2024 in the field of return – information by the Presidency

‒ Experts Conference on Voluntary Return and Reintegration (19-20 March 2024, Antwerp) – information by the Presidency

 

Non-COMIX items

6. AOB

- Draft new Generalised Preference Scheme (GSP) Regulation – information by the Presidency

 


16 January 2024

(return to top)

Format: 1+ 2 (Presidency 2+2)

1. Adoption of the agenda

 

COMIX items

2. Visa Code Article 25a exercise – discussion on the efficiency of the mechanism

– Exchange of views

17110/23 (to be issued) ['Presidency discussion paper on effectiveness of the visa leverage (Visa Code Article 25a mechanism)', reported on by Statewatch here: Deportations: EU considers stepping up visa sanctions after Iraq and Gambia change policies]

 

3. Visa Code Article 25a exercise

– Update by the Commission and the EEAS on the state of implementation of Visa Code Article 25a, including the preparation of the yearly assessment of cooperation on readmission during 2023

– Presentation by the Presidency on the way forward as regards the proposals currently on the table for a Council implementing decision on the suspension of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council

– Exchange of views

17111/23 (to be issued) ["Article 25a of the Visa Code... is currently the only legal tool at our disposal for all third countries to improve readmission cooperation... as of January 2024, the concrete follow-up of the annual Visa Code Article 25a exercise will be re-assigned from the Visa Working Party to the Integration, Migration and Expulsion (IMEX Expulsion) Working Party." The paper discusses the results of threatening or employing visa sanctions against Iraq ("unprecedented"), Bangladesh ("a significant decrease in the quality of the cooperation"), The Gambia ("positive steps"), Senegal ("mixed") and Ethiopia (discussions ongoing). A number of questions are put to delegations for discussion.]

 

4. Implementation of Frontex activities in the field of return [Frontex is invited to participate in this agenda item.]

Presentation by Frontex [Two presentations contained in WK 00672/2024: General update on Frontex return and reintegration activities; Agency's objectives in return (2024 onwards). Both censored to some degree.]

– Exchange of views

 

5. AOB

 

Non-COMIX items

6. AOB

– Draft new Generalised Preference Scheme (GSP) Regulation – information by the Presidency

– New Partnership Agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (Samoa Agreement) – information by the Presidency

 


20 December 2023

(return to top)

Format: 1+ 2 (Presidency 2+2)

1. Adoption of the agenda

[CM 5609/23]

 

2. Implementation of Frontex activities in the field of return [Frontex is invited to participate in this agenda item.]

– Presentation by Frontex [Contained in WK 17183/2023, 'General update on Frontex return and reintegration activities']

– Exchange of views

 

3. Innovative approaches to return operations: mixed voluntary and non-voluntary returns on the same charter flight [Frontex is invited to participate in this agenda item.]

– Presentation by the Presidency

– Intervention by the Commission

– Intervention by Frontex

– Exchange of views

16135/23 ['Presidency discussion paper on innovative approaches to return operations: mixed voluntary and non-voluntary returns on the same charter flight': Following a proposal from Spain, Frontex tested transporting forced and voluntary returnees on the same charter flight, which was succesful on three occasions in 2023, with a further flight pending. "If the evaluation of the activity is positive, then ECRET [Frontex's returns division] will consider it to be included as a standard service"]

 

4. Making returns more effective – follow up to the 5 December Schengen Council discussion:

– Presentation by the Presidency

– Presentation by the Commission

– Exchange of views

16143/23 ['Presidency paper on making the return systems more effective': the paper focuses on the "internal dimension [of returns]… in particular prioritising effective returns of third country nationals posing a security threat and advancing towards a European return decision." A paper with the same title was discussed in SCIFA on 23 November 2023, and was reported on by Statewatch here.]

 

5. Commission assessment of the implementation of EBCGA regulation in the field of returns

– Information by the Commission

 

6. Visa code Article 25a exercise:

– Update by the Presidency

– Update by the Commission

 

7. Presentation of the latest policy developments as regards the fight against migrant smuggling

 

8. Presentation of the priorities of the incoming Belgian Presidency

[Contained in WK 17183/2023. With regard to externalisation, the presentation merely states: "External dimension: follow-up of current discussions"]

 

9. AOB

 


19 September 2023

(return to top)

Format: 1+ 2 (Presidency 2+2)

1. Adoption of the agenda

[CM 4092/23]

 

2. Implementation of Frontex activities in the field of voluntary return and reintegration (including counselling, Joint Reintegration Services and their geographical scope)[1].

- Presentation by Frontex [Contained in WK 11904/23. General update on Frontex's return and reintegration services, covering: International cooperation on return; Other pre-return activities; An overview of figures, with numbers increasing year-on-year; Update on the Joint Reintegration Services; Voluntary Return and Reintegration]

- Exchange of views

 

3. Promoting voluntary return and reintegration:

‒ Introduction by the Presidency

‒ Presentation by the Commission

‒ Presentation by IOM on the implementation of IOM good practises in voluntary return and reintegration [Presentation contained in WK 19004/23, entitled 'Safe, dignified return and sustainable reintegration: Institutional approaches and practices from the field'. The presentation is more heavily-censored than the Frontex one contained in the same document. It states that IOM return counselling services are: "Aimed at empowering individuals and increase their agency to make their own decision instead of trying to influence it." The IOM's definition of sustainable integration includes: "Having achieved sustainable reintegration, returnees are able to make further migration decisions a matter of choice, rather than necessity".]

‒ Presentation by San Ezequiel Moreno Foundation (FESEM) of the examples of successful Productive Voluntary Returns [Presentation contained in WK 11904/23, provides a basic overview of the activities undertaken by FESEM in the area of "voluntary" returns.]

‒ Exchange of views

12740/23 [Presidency discussion paper on promoting voluntary return and reintegration. Outlines the Commission strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration and seeks to stimulate discussion on reintegration as a key part of "sustainable return"; the importance of individualised advice and the role of local authorities or other counterparts; and the importance of expanding Frontex's Joint Reintegration Services.]

 

3. AOB

 

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