On 12 September 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a recasting of the 2008 Return Directive, which stipulates common standards and procedures in Member States for returning irregular migrants who are non-EU nationals. Effectively returning irregular migrants is one of the key objectives of the European Union’s migration policy. However, Member States currently face challenges: national practices implementing the EU rules vary and the overall return rates remain below expectations. The proposal was not accompanied by a Commission impact assessment. The European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) therefore asked the European Parliamentary Research Service to provide a targeted substitute impact assessment of the proposed recast Return Directive.
The assessment considers the main expected impacts of the key provisions of the Commission proposal, focusing on the social, human rights and financial impacts, as compared to the current situation (status quo). On the basis of the legal and economic studies carried out for this impact assessment, it appears that the Commission proposal for a recast Return Directive has significant legal, social, human rights and economic implications, which in principle would have deserved consideration in the context of a proper impact assessment process conducted ex-ante by the Commission.