This week, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, supported France with two charter flights for migrants who wanted to return to their country voluntarily.
This was the first time the agency assisted in a voluntary return via chartered flights. As a result, 209 persons were safely flown from France to Albania, respecting all necessary social distancing and sanitary measures.
Frontex had its first voluntary return operation on scheduled flight organised from Cyprus to Georgia in June.
“The charter flights from France were organised under the COVID-19 conditions, which proves that Frontex stands ready to support member states even in the most challenging times,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.
“Voluntary returns promote a humane and dignified type of return. With our enhanced mandate, we are happy we can support national authorities in this area as well,” he added.
The agency has been able to provide technical assistance to national authorities in voluntary returns since December 2019 when Frontex’s expanded mandate entered into force.
Frontex can charter planes for this purpose and can also support acquisition of travel documents for persons who are being returned. In the future, the agency will also help in the post-return phase.