Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, who also holds the title of Promoting the European Way of Life at the Commission, told reporters, "Europe will remain an asylum destination for those fleeing persecution and war. However, those with no right to stay will have to be returned to their countries of origin. Not doing so undermines the credibility of our system and prevents us from protecting those who need it."
Catherine Woollard, director of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), said that while generally voluntary returns were preferable to forced relocations, the EU focused disproportionately on sending people back.
"Asylum decision-making in Europe remains a lottery, with wildly divergent protection rates across the EU. In addition, flight from violence is still not well handled by asylum-systems," she explained. "This means that people are receiving rejections when they have protection needs and when it is not safe for them to be returned. Member states are returning people to places that are not safe."