International Affairs

Difficult but possible returns

The enforcement of legally binding orders to remove asylum seekers was severely restricted for around two months in the spring. This was due to travel restrictions and a fall in the number of flight connections following the outbreak of the pandemic. The situation improved in the second half of the year, with around 70 per cent of scheduled returns and removals carried out. In 2020, 2,233 people were returned to their home country, a third country or the Dublin member state responsible for their asylum case. A further 1,051 voluntary departures were recorded in the same period.

So near yet so far

At the international level, numerous bilateral and multilateral meetings were unable to take place or had to be conducted virtually, resulting in a marked increase in the use of modern technology. Alone the Corona Information Group, the forum for exchange between the Schengen member states and the European Commission, convened 33 times via video link in the space of six months.