Nederlandse Ambassade in Boekarest, Roemenië

Dutch -Romanian collaboration in the field of return

The Romanian Immigration Office, the Dutch Repatriation and Departure Service, the Belgian Federal Immigration Service and the Central Aliens Authority of the City of Bielefeld (Germany) closely cooperated in combined activities aimed at improving the cooperation of third countries in the field of return.

On 5 July 2012 the Romanian Immigration Office and Dutch Repatriation and Departure Service co-organized a conference in the Athenee Palace Hilton Hotel in Bucharest on European cooperation between services involved in enforcing the return of illegal migrants to their countries of origin. The conference was co-hosted by Mr. Gândac (Deputy Director General, Ministry of Administration and Interior, Romanian Immigration Office) and Mr. Faber (Director of International Affairs, Repatriation and Departure Service). In addition to FRONTEX, national services of some 20 EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland were represented. The meeting was also attended by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Matthijs van Bonzel.

This conference took place at the occasion of the ending of the so-called EURINT project that started on 1 January 2011. In this project the Romanian Immigration Office, the Dutch Repatriation and Departure Service, the Belgian Federal Immigration Service and the Central Aliens Authority of the City of Bielefeld (Germany) closely cooperated in combined activities aimed at improving the cooperation of third countries in the field of return. The activities included various outgoing and incoming visits to third countries, as well as organizing joint task forces and combined enforcements of returns. EURINT was funded by the European Return Fund.

So far, this seems to have been a unique experience in which European return services partners shared in-depth operational, strategic information and undertook combined activities in relation to third countries. On the basis of the lesson-learned of the EURINT project, the project partners will most likely implement a follow-up. In future initiatives, the project partners will closely liaise with FRONTEX and other national services.

Following a proposal presented by the EURINT project partners, all participants clearly emphasised the need to work more closely as national services enforcing returns of illegal migrants residing on their territories. This could lead to the future establishment of a broader operational network within which participating services could engage in with each other to develop a common strategy aimed at third countries on the basis of shared interests. Through such initiatives a common European effort to fight illegal migration could be strengthened.