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Why Returns from European Countries are Hugely Unpopular in Most African Countries

The forced return of migrants from the European Union (EU) to their countries of origin continues to be a source of major tension in African countries as well as EU member states. The result has been that the EU – and individual member states – have been scrambling to come up with ways to improve cooperation on migration. What EU countries want is for countries of origin to take back migrants that are not able to live legally in Europe. But return rates from the EU to Africa are the lowest compared to other world regions and have even decreased in the last decade. For example, only 9% of Senegalese with an order to return from the EU did so between 2015 and 2019. In other words, of the 30,650 Senegalese migrants who received an order to leave from a European country between 2015 and 2019, only 2,805 did. Forced return necessitates the cooperation of countries of origin through for example issuing travel documents or allowing flights to land.