Conference on return: coordination and cooperation are the key to managing irregular migration

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In Ljubljana, from 21 to 23 June 2022, the "JCP Implementation Conference on Return" was organised by the Joint Coordination platform (JCP), the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Slovenia and Hilfswerk International. Key actors in the migration field from the Western Balkan countries, Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland, as well as representatives of the European Commission, Frontex, DCAF, ERRIN, ICMPD, IOM, HWI, and the MARRI Regional Centre participated in the conference. The topics of the meeting were issues related to cooperation in the field of return and readmission and the creation of an action plan for the future in the field of irregular migration.

Participants agreed that, at this time, it is most necessary to continue strengthening the coordination and implementation of planned measures in the spirit of European integrated border management, acting fully in accordance with international standards applicable in migration management and closely coordinating measures to ensure complementarity between countries. Particular emphasis during the conference was placed on discussing the improvement of concrete operational issues related to safe and, in accordance with international rights, the return of third-country nationals who are not entitled to stay in the country where they are located.

Thanks to the exchange of knowledge, practices, and experiences, representatives of the institutions of fourteen European and six Western Balkan countries agreed that the priority is the alignment of needs and assistance in the readmission process, and that continuous work should be done to build real partnerships and a common return mechanism, with the inclusion of international organisations, as this is the only way to progress in the overall management of the migration processes.