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Assistance for the voluntary repatriation of third-country nationals


This communication sets out to approximate Member States' policies on the voluntary return of third-country nationals.


Council Decision 97/340/JHA of 26 May 1997 on the exchange of information concerning assistance for the voluntary repatriation of third-country nationals.


1. Those Member States which have taken steps to develop programmes to support the voluntary return of third-country nationals to their country of origin will report annually on them to the General Secretariat of the Council. The General Secretariat will circulate such information to all Member States and the Commission.

Information on these national return programmes will, in particular, include the following information:

  • the authorities responsible for carrying out the programme, i.e. non-governmental and/or international organizations;
  • the scope of the programme in terms of the persons covered;
  • any further requirements to be met by individual returnees in order to be considered for assistance under the programme;
  • any requirements to be met by the country of origin under the programme;
  • the type and level of assistance granted (e.g. travel expenses for the returnee and his/her family, removal costs, repatriation allowance);
  • estimate of the effects of the programme, including the number of beneficiaries and the occurrence of any incentive effects.

2. The General Secretariat of the Council will make available annually to Member States and the Commission a draft report on the information received on the basis of Article 1. This report shall be exhaustive in nature and will contain specific information on each of the points listed at 1. above The draft report referred to in paragraph 1 will be examined by the Member States concerned and the Commission and adjusted if necessary.

3. On the basis of the draft report referred to at 2. above, the Member States concerned and the Commission will, within the Council, exchange their views on the programmes referred to at 1. above. In so doing, they will, in particular, compare the scope, conditions and effects of those programmes with a view to their possible approximation.


ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 97/340/JHA25.06.1997-L 147 of 05.06.1997
Last updated: 11.10.2006
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