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EC Readmission Agreements: A Prime Instrument of the External Dimension of the EU’s Fight against Irregular Immigration. An Assessment after Ten Years of Practice

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As the EU becomes the focal point of immigration in the world, it faces a growing number of irregular immigrants in addition to regular immigrants. In order to improve the management of its external borders, the EU tries to cooperate with the migrants’ countries of origin and of transit. Among the legal instruments available, one of the foremost are the so-called “readmission agreements” which facilitate the removal of migrants who are irregularly present on the parties’ soil. This article assesses the use of EC readmission agreements as a prime instrument of the external dimension of the EU’s fight against irregular immigration and argues that these agreements have become instruments of first importance but without necessarily being of greatest relevance. The analysis starts with a systematic approach, looking at readmission agreements in the context of the other existing tools used by the EU institutions and also in the context of the readmission cooperation existing with third states. Then, the analysis considers the legal issues relating to the conclusion of EC readmission agreements and the challenges highlighted by the determination of their contents. This article also discusses the question of the outcome of the implementation of these agreements.


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