Opportunities for the future

Cooperation between EU Member States could be more efficient when:

  • Common and agreed upon goals, indicators and definitions are formulated;
  • Each country appoints one leading agency to represent all actors that promote return;
  • Consortia are not too large and focus on quality of cooperation.

More involvement from governments of the countries of origin can lead to more efficiency. But only if the target group is extended, including undocumented migrants, returnees from neighbouring countries and Internally Displaced Persons.

More efficiency does not automatically lead to increased effectiveness. The general view among EU member states seems to be: “Yes, cooperation could lead to more effectiveness, provided that others do what we are already doing”. But a comparative monitoring and evaluation system is still lacking. While the argument for a more developmental approach is valid as a theoretical assumption, it needs facts and figures to distinguish ‘best from worst practises’.

Involvement of local governments in countries of origin is from a justice perspective barely needed, because return is a given. If there is a development aim, effectiveness could be improved by embedding return activities in other policy fields such as labour and education. Making activities available to a large number of beneficiaries is likely to create local spin-off.