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HomeBreaking NewsGAMBIA: GAMBIA'S COOPERATION ON DEPORTEE READMISSION STILL NOT SUFFICIENT - SAYS EU

GAMBIA: GAMBIA’S COOPERATION ON DEPORTEE READMISSION STILL NOT SUFFICIENT – SAYS EU

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According to the European Union (EU) Commission, The Gambia’s level of cooperation on the readmission of its citizens who have been deported from other EU regions remains inadequate.

In December 2022, the European Union Council implemented a revision to the Schengen visa costs for Gambian nationals, raising the amount from 80 to 120 euros. This measure was undertaken with the intention of exerting pressure on The Gambia to enhance its cooperation in accepting the repatriation of its citizens from European Union member states. However, after over one year of implementing the coercive strategy, the European Union Council acknowledged during its last meeting on September 29th that the actual number of individuals who were deported did not exceed the anticipated level.
The Commission observed that subsequent to the Council’s decision in 2022 to raise the Schengen visa fee for individuals from The Gambia, it has persistently evaluated The Gambia’s collaboration in terms of readmission. This evaluation encompasses the support offered in identifying Gambian nationals who are residing “illegally” within the territories of the Member States, as well as the prompt issuance of travel documents and the coordination of return operations.

The Commission has evaluated that there has been a significant and consistent enhancement in the collaboration on the repatriation of individuals following the implementation of the Council’s decision. This improvement is evident in the organization of return flights and related activities.Nevertheless, the level of collaboration between The Gambia and the relevant parties in addressing the issue of readmission remains inadequate in terms of the support offered in identifying Gambian citizens who are residing unlawfully in the territories of Member States, as well as in promptly issuing travel permits. Furthermore, it is essential to enhance the capacity or frequency of charter flights in order to facilitate a sustained decrease in the population of those residing unlawfully inside the Member States.
As a result, the Commission has said that the Council’s decision in 2022 to raise Schengen visa costs for Gambian citizens “should continue to be implemented.”

In an in-depth examination of The Gambia’s situation, the European Union (EU) emphasized the importance of resuming collaboration regarding the processing of readmission applications and return operations. This emphasis was reiterated during high-level discussions with the Gambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as during the inaugural meeting of the Joint Working Group under the EU readmission arrangement in October 2022.

The Commission emphasized the need of revitalizing collaboration in all aspects of the readmission process, with a specific focus on reactivating the embassies’ operational capabilities and promptness in addressing the concerns of all Member States, in order to make significant and lasting advancements.

The report observed that, while the European Union (EU) has consistently made efforts to enhance collaboration with The Gambia, complete progress in all aspects of the readmission process has not been attained.

The user’s response evokes a reaction.

According to Yahya Sonko, a Gambian migration activist residing in Germany and formerly serving as a refugee speaker in the State of Baden-Württemberg, The Gambia is being treated unfairly by the European Union (EU).

When examining the various sub-regions within Africa, it becomes evident that The Gambia stands out as the only nation seeing the biggest influx of deportees. In contrast to previous years, the Barrow administration in 2023 refrained from refusing any charter deportation flights originating from the European Union. The individuals were adhering to the regulations mostly due to the visa limitations set by the European Union, with a desire to see their prompt removal. According to Mr. Sonko, the recent report from the EU Commission is both stunning and, to some extent, expected.

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