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European Commission - Statement

Statement by Commissioner Avramopoulos on the adoption by the Council of the Commission's proposal to create a European Travel Document for Return

Luxembourg, 13 October 2016

On the occasion of today's adoption by the Council of the Commission's proposal to establish a European Travel Document on Return, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said:

"I welcome today's adoption by the Council of the Commission's proposal for a European travel document to facilitate the return of irregularly staying third-country nationals. Ensuring the return of irregular migrants who do not fulfil the conditions for entry, stay or residence in the EU and reducing the incentives for irregular migration are essential components of a well-functioning migration policy and an important objective of our European Agenda on Migration. Our efforts to protect those in need must go hand in hand with the establishment of an effective and credible policy for the return of irregular migrants in full compliance with the fundamental rights of the returnees and international law, including the principle of non-refoulement. The lack of valid travel documents has proven to be one of the main obstacles for successful returns. With the new European travel document adopted today, we are introducing a uniform European format with enhanced security features which should help facilitate the acceptance of this document by third countries."

For more information:

EU Action Plan on return

A European Agenda on Migration


Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

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