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Joint flights for the removal of illegal immigrants

The purpose of this Decision is to coordinate joint removals by air, from two or more Member States, of third country nationals who are subjects of individual removal orders.

ACT

Council Decision 2004/573/EC of 29 April 2004 on the organisation of joint flights for removals from the territory of two or more Member States of third-country nationals who are subjects of individual removal orders.

SUMMARY

This Decision lays down rules for the organisation of return flights for third-country nationals * who are the subject of removal orders. It concerns in particular the specific tasks of the authorities designated by the organising Member States * as well as common tasks.

This Decision was adopted without the opinion of the European Parliament.

Each Member State appoints the national authority responsible for organising joint flights *; The national authorities of the organising Member State:

  • select the air carrier, which whom they establish the costs of the joint flight;
  • request and receive, from the third-countries of transit and destination, the authorisations required for implementation of the joint flight;
  • contact the relevant individuals and make appropriate arrangements with the participating Member States *
  • define the operational details and determine, in agreement with the participating Member States, the appropriate number of escorts * to handle the number of third-country nationals to be removed;
  • make all the appropriate financial arrangements with the participating Member States.

The participating Member State informs the national authority of the organising Member State of its intention to participate in the joint flight, specifying the number of third-country nationals to be removed, and provides a sufficient number of escorts for each third-country national to be removed.

The organising Member State, working with the participating Member States:

  • ensures that each third-country national and escort has valid travel documents and any other necessary additional documents, such as entry and/or transit visas, certificates or records;
  • informs their diplomatic and consular representations in the third-countries of transit and destination of the arrangements concerning the joint flight, in order to obtain the necessary assistance.

The Common Guidelines on security provisions, the health of deportees, the code of conduct for escorts and the use of coercive measures are set out in the annex to this Decision.

Security provisions for joint removals by air concern five phases: the pre-return phase, the pre-departure phase in departure or stopover airports, the in-flight procedure, the transit phase and the arrival phase.

Key terms used in the act
  • Third-country national: any person who is not a national of a Member State of the European Union, the Republic of Iceland or the Kingdom of Norway;
  • Organising Member State: the Member State responsible for the organisation of joint flights;
  • Participating Member State: a Member State which participates in joint flights organised by an organising Member State;
  • Joint flight: the transport of third-country nationals carried out by an air carrier selected for that purpose;
  • Removal operation and joint removal by air: all activities which are necessary to return the third-country nationals concerned, including transport on joint flights;
  • Escort(s): the security personnel responsible for accompanying third-country nationals on a joint flight, persons in charge of medical care and interpreters.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 2004/573/EC7.8.2004-OJ L 261 of 6.8.2004
Last updated: 03.12.2007
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