EU return sponsorships: High stakes, low gains?
Excerpt from the Executive Summary
The concept of ‘EU return sponsorships’ is one of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum’s central and most novel proposals. It may also prove to be the most controversial. At its core, this proposal put forward by the European Commission introduces return sponsorship as an expression of responsibility-sharing between member states. Member states would be required to support other EU countries facing migratory pressure. If they oppose the option of relocating asylum seekers, they can facilitate the returns of migrants who lack permission to remain in Europe instead. The Commission’s objective was to bridge the political divisions between member states while simultaneously achieving policy objectives of internal solidarity and returns. However, making this work in practice is not without challenges. This Discussion Paper unpacks the return sponsorship mechanism and discusses its likely implications, coming to five conclusions.