Schengen Visa News

Frontex Sends 40 Albanians With Return Decisions by EU Countries Back Home

A trip organized by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) brought 50 Albanians back to Tirana on January 25, at the same time the first fully initiated and organized return operation.

In a press release regarding the operation, Frontex explained that prior to the operation, the returnees had received their individual return decisions issued by the authorities in the relevant European country in which they were residing.

The agency was responsible for defining the time frame, operational procedures and, through the EU Mission in Albania and Frontex’s Liaison Officer, to contact the Albanian authorities. Meanwhile, the excellent cooperation with the Spanish and Italian authorities ensured the success of the flight,” the agency notes explaining how the process went.

It also highlights that this is the first operation of its kind fully organized and implemented by the Agency.

Commenting on the operation, Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri said it opens a new chapter on how the agency can help member states repatriate third-country nationals without the right to remain on their territory.

He added that “the excellent cooperation with the Republic of Albania as well as with Spain and Italy has greatly contributed to the success of this operation.”

Currently, only Member States are responsible for granting return decisions, but Frontex provides them with technical and operational support in organizing and coordinating returns, assisting in the identification of returnees, and more.

The agency is also able to organize a return flight, as in this case when 40 Albanians were brought back from the EU, with the flight departing from Madrid, Spain, and stopping off once in Rome, Italy.

Data show that in 2021, Frontex helped EU members repatriate more than 18,000 people to their countries of origin, for which the relevant authorities issued decisions to return. The figure was a 53 percent increase compared to 2020 and a 16 percent increase compared to 2019, before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Another 219 Albanians were repatriated in mid-2020 on two separate trips. All of them have overstayed their visa-free three-month stay in France or have submitted unfounded asylum claims in the country. They also included family members with children.

In the same month, another 19 Albanians were returned from Germany for the same reasons.

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