Inventory of the agreements linked to readmission
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Inventory of the agreements linked to readmission: Why a dual approach?
Readmission pertains to the removal of aliens who do not or no longer have the right to enter or live in the territory of a country. Countries of destination, transit and origin may cooperate on readmission by drafting an agreement.
Historically, readmission is not a recent issue in international relations. Nor is it a new topic from a legal or political point of view. What, however, is new and unprecedented are the ways in which the cooperation on readmission has been configured and practiced over the last two decades or so, while gaining tremendous momentum in bilateral and multilateral talks.
Bilateral agreements may be formalised, as is often the case, through the conclusion of standard readmission agreements based on reciprocal obligations. However, making an inventory of bilateral standard readmission agreements would never suffice to provide a clear picture of the various cooperative mechanisms that have been designed to facilitate the expulsion of unauthorised aliens.
Under certain circumstances, two states may agree to conclude a bilateral agreement or arrangement without necessarily formalising their cooperation on readmission. They may decide to graft readmission onto a broader framework of bilateral cooperation (e.g., police cooperation agreements including a clause on readmission, administrative arrangements, and partnership agreements) or to deal with it through other channels (e.g., by using exchanges of letters and memoranda of understanding). Among others, the rationale for such non-standard agreements is to respond flexibly to various contingencies over time. Many EU Member States, as well as other countries around the world, have concluded such bilateral non-standard agreements in order to address re-documentation and the delivery of travel documents or laissez-passers to remove unauthorised aliens.
This dual approach explains why it is important to talk about agreements linked to readmission, for it encompasses agreements that can be standard and non-standard. Since its inception in 2006, this inventory has adopted this dual approach in order to shed light on the scope of bilateral agreements linked to readmission.
The Readmission System
The rationale behind the inventory is not only informative. It also shows that a whole readmission system exists linking today more than 125 countries of destination, transit, and origin, whether these are poor or rich, large or small, democratically organized or authoritarian.
To understand the scope of this system, it is important to analyse the drivers that have been conducive to its unprecedented geographical expansion and pervasiveness. The analysis of such drivers lies at the intersection of various disciplines including political science, international relations, law, cognitive psychology, linguistics, and history. The field of investigation on the readmission system is huge and interdisciplinary research is much-needed.
The readmission system is not only built on obligations which would be defined in international customary law. Nor is it only a system based on incentives, costs and benefits. It is also a system contingent on predominant schemes of understanding, paradigms and a hegemonic lexicon shaping policy perceptions and hierarchies of priorities. The bilateral cooperation on readmission (be it based on standard or non-standard agreements) would never have acquired such a spectacular magnitude, beyond national vested interests, without the emergence of exceptional epistemic conditions.
The proposed inventory constitutes a schematic illustration of the consequences of such conditions that need to be further explored. These may have clear implications for the rights and safety of foreign nationals above all when the latter are removed to conflict-ridden countries or to countries where irregular migration is sanctioned by law. Similarly, they may have indirect implications for the ways in which state-citizen relationships have been reconfigured over the last two decades, for the readmission system is not only coercive, it is also regulatory and disciplinary. This is what makes the current practice of readmission unprecedented.
Jean-Pierre Cassarino, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to use the inventory
The inventory contains tables listing a large number of references to bilateral agreements linked to readmission. These pertain to:
– Standard readmission agreements, namely:
- – Bilateral readmission agreements which may be signed (‘S’) or entered into force (‘V’);
- – The bilateral Implementing Protocols (‘IP’) concluded between each EU Member State and non-EU countries in the framework of the EU readmission agreements (EURAs).
– Non-standard agreements, namely:
- – Police cooperation agreements (‘CP’) including a clause on readmission/removal of unauthorised persons;
- – Memoranda of understanding (‘ME’);
- – Administrative arrangements (‘AA’);
- – Exchanges of letters (‘EL’).
The above map allows you to view how each country (highlighted in blue) has structured its own patterns of bilateral cooperation on readmission. Prior online registration is required. You may use the map with Internet Explorer 9 or with Mozilla.
The inventory results from long-standing research conducted at the RDP. It also owes its existence to the instrumental contribution of numerous respondents, among others national and international civil servants, who kindly agreed to send documents and information or to reply to unofficial queries.
We try to keep the inventory updated as much as possible, and to the best of our knowledge. If you have any comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us.