To ensure a sustainable and credible policy approach to the management of migration flows, it is essential to address the problem of irregular migration. An effective return policy – in conformity with the Charter of Fundamental Rights and based on the preference for voluntary return – is key to this objective.
The European Return Fund (RF), in which all EU countries participate except for Denmark, allocates EUR 676 million for the period 2008–13. Specifically, it seeks to improve return management as well as to encourage the development of cooperation between EU countries and with countries of return.
In this context, the Fund provides support for actions assisting returnees' return to their country of origin and their reintegration processes; and activities enhancing the quality of information on voluntary return. Measures co-financed by the Fund include, for example, the setting up of voluntary return and reintegration programmes, specific assistance for vulnerable returnees (e.g. persons who are ill or disabled, unaccompanied minors, the elderly, etc) and support for innovative tools and actions supporting the sharing of best practices between EU States. The Fund also co-finances activities of forced return in cases where voluntary return is no longer possible (e.g. where persons who have received a return decision have refused to return voluntarily).
National Programmes: the Fund is mainly implemented by EU countries through shared management. Each EU State implements the Fund through national annual programmes on the basis of multiannual programming.
Community Actions: at the Commission's initiative, up to 7% of the RF's available resources may be used to finance transnational actions or actions of interest to the EU as a whole.