Thursday, 29 January 2004

Questions (4)

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

3 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the proportion of the fund which will be used to fly illegal immigrants out of member states in view of the Council of Ministers' recent announcement of the setting up of a €30 million fund to increase the number of illegal immigrants who are repatriated; and the types of project which will be initiated to help reintegrate them in their home countries. [2579/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

The financial provision of €30 million in the 2005-2006 EU budget period is intended to fund a framework preparatory action to support a series of pilot programmes, including joint flights and reintegration measures, aimed at increasing the number of returns of persons illegally resident in the EU.

The fund is a further development of the Comprehensive Return Action Programme which was approved by the Justice and Home Affairs, JHA, Council on 28 November 2002. This sets out a series of proposals for the development of a number of short, medium and long-term measures in the field of return. Considerable progress has been made in adopting these initiatives and this will be continued under the Irish Presidency.

The fund was first announced by the European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs, JHA, Mr. António Vitorino, on Thursday, 22 January 2004, at the informal meeting of JHA Council of Ministers held in Dublin Castle. The precise details of the framework preparatory action, that is how it will be allocated to specific areas or projects of return and the procedures involved, will be a matter for negotiation in the relevant working group in Brussels chaired by the Irish Presidency. It is Ireland's aim to progress negotiations on this framework preparatory action so that Council conclusions on the matter can be reached before the end of the Irish Presidency.

It should be noted that the fund is not intended to replace national programmes of return but rather to augment them and provide value added for the EU as a whole.