Return of Gambians who are obliged to leave

Question for written answer E-001104/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Lars Patrick Berg (ID)

Subject: Return of Gambians who are obliged to leave

The government of the Gambia is failing to comply with its obligations under international law to take its own nationals back into the country. The majority of asylum applications by Gambian citizens which have been turned down did not result in deportation, because of a lack of travel documents. Talks between the Commission and Gambian President Adama Barrow failed to solve the problem. Yet according to a reliable list compiled by the German police force, there are currently 6 569 Gambians in Germany who are obliged to leave the country.

1. How will the Commission support Germany in returning migrants to the Gambia?

2. Will the Commission restrict or suspend the provision of tourist and work visas for Gambians in the future?

3. What other action will the Commission take to convince the Gambian government to take back its nationals?

Answer given by Ms. Johansson
on behalf of the European Commission
(May 19, 2021)

The Commission services and the European External Action Service are closely monitoring developments on returns to The Gambia and have been continuously engaging, together with and in support of Member States, with the Gambian authorities to establish a more predictable and reliable cooperation on readmission.

As outlined in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum[1], the EU is working to establish comprehensive and mutually beneficial partnerships on migration covering all relevant aspects of migration, including return and readmission. All available tools and instruments will be mobilised to reinforce these partnerships, including funding contributing to strengthening migration cooperation and management.

According to Article 25a (2) of the Visa Code[2] the Commission is to annually assess the level of readmission cooperation of non-EU countries. On 10 February 2021, the Commission completed its first factual assessment of readmission cooperation in 2019 and transmitted the restricted report to the Council, where discussions have since taken place. The communication[3] based on the assessment report outlines how the EU intends to enhance cooperation on return and readmission. Together with the High Representative and the Member States, the Commission will use the report’s findings to engage with partner countries where improvements are needed. The decision on which countries should eventually be subject to visa measures is still to be made taking into account the overall EU relations and the steps taken by the Commission to improve the level of cooperation of the third country concerned in the field of readmission. This process is ongoing.

[1] COM(2020) 609 final, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on a New Pact on Migration and Asylum 

[2] Regulation (EU) 2019/1155 of 20 June 2019 amending Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas, OJ L 188 of 12.7.2019, p. 25 

[3] COM(2021) 56 final, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council ‘Enhancing cooperation on return and readmission as part of a fair, effective and comprehensive EU migration policy’.