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Slovenian Presidency Achieves Agreement on Return Directive in Political Trialogue with European Parliament

The Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council, chaired by Dragutin Mate, Slovenian Minister of the Interior and President of the JHA Council, managed to harmonise the compromise text of the Return Directive in the political trialogue with the European Parliament in Strasbourg today. The trialogue was conducted with Manfred Weber, Member of the European Parliament and European Parliament's rapporteur for the Return Directive, with MEPs from other political groups and with representatives of the European Commission.

Minister Mate explained: "As one of its main goals concerning the return policy, Slovenia chose the conclusion of negotiations with the European Parliament on the proposal for a return directive in the first reading. The negotiations were important, as they represented a test of the co-decision procedure in the area of migration policy and the strengthening of the process of setting up a joint EU migration policy."

The proposal for the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common standards and procedures in the Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals has been discussed in EU institutions at various levels for almost three years. Germany and Portugal achieved important progress in negotiations, and the February Justice and Home Affairs Council reaffirmed the Presidency's mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament. The Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council intensively resumed negotiations with the European Parliament and during the first political trialogue achieved a compromise on most articles and completed the harmonisation today on the remainder of the text.

The proposal of the Directive is aimed at the unification of return standards and procedures and equal treatment of all third-country nationals staying in the Member States illegally. In this way the same level of rights and obligations of third-country nationals would be achieved and abuses of procedures avoided in the Member States with more favourable procedures. Minister Mate concluded by saying that the discussion so far showed that the Member States wanted to adopt an instrument which would enable an effective and just return policy, hence "… we can now optimistically expect that the compromise text will be adopted by the EU Council so that the European Parliament can approve it as soon as possible."


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Date: 25.04.2008