Sunday 24. October 2021
COMECE Press 05/06/2008


Return Directive:

The deep concern of Churches and Christian organisations


In view of the vote on the so called ‘Return directive’, Churches and Christian organisations[1] restate their concerns about the proposed text. They urge the European Parliament to restrict the use of administrative detention and to limit the mandatory entry ban to exceptional circumstances. They also suggest that, for the purpose of voluntary return, a minimum of 30 days should be granted.


On May 30th 2008, Mgr Van Luyn, President of COMECE, together with representatives of other Churches and Christian organisations, addressed a letter to the Members of the European Parliament to express their concern about the recent compromise on the ‘Return Directive’. The European Parliament’s vote on the proposed Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third country nationals is scheduled for June 17.


The letter - which acknowledges the difficulty of reaching a compromise on such a controversial issue - draws the MEPs’ attention to the provisions concerning the maximum length of detention (18 months) and the entry ban for ‘irregular’ third-country nationals, which remain problematic in the view of their authors.


The signatory organisations regret the fact that the current compromise proposal does not take into account the reality of many migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in EU Member States. While churches share the concern of governments and societies to uphold the rule of law in the various European countries, they stress that the dignity of every human being should be respected.


[1] Caritas Europa, the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe, COMECE, the Conference of European Churches

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