In August 2017, the Ecorys Security and Justice team completed an evaluation of Council Regulation (EC) 377/2004 on the creation of an immigration liaison officers (ILO) network (the ‘ILO Regulation’) in non-EU third countries. These officers are representatives of the EU Member States, posted in non-EU countries in order to facilitate the measures taken by the EU to prevent irregular immigration and facilitate return of illegal migrants. The objective of the Regulation was to pool Member State resources and to enable ILOs in a particular region or non-EU country to liaise with each other.
The Ecorys Security and Justice team engaged in an extensive consultation programme during the evaluation process. The design of the evaluation was based on a participatory approach allowing for an active involvement of key stakeholders, notably Member State ILO Back offices, who manage ILO networks at national level, as well as ILOs themselves. Ecorys organised 14 workshops in key third countries where liaison officers are deployed were carried out, involving consultations with all relevant staff, notably from EU Delegations, consular sections or national embassies of Member States, international organisations such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and national authorities of the hosting countries. Workshops were organised in: Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Morocco, Senegal, Ghana, Turkey, Albania, Russia, Thailand and China.
The study found that the ILO Regulation has had limited and mostly indirect impact in terms of enhancing networking among Member State ILOs deployed in the same location and improving coordination of the EU's position vis-à-vis hosting countries. The results highlighted that the new realities in the area of migration require a common framework and clear mandates for staff posted either from the EU or from Member States in non-EU countries to prevent irregular migration and counter migrant smuggling. The study further concluded that a revision of the Regulation would enhance the EU's ability to collect and share relevant information necessary to prevent irregular migration and counter related criminal activities, notably migrant smuggling.
Following the recommendations provided by Ecorys in its evaluation of the Regulation, the Commission Communication on the Delivery of the European Agenda on Migration confirmed the need to revise the Regulation. The revision of the ILO Regulation is included in the Commission Work Programme for 2018.
The final report prepared by the Ecorys Nederland BV has been published in the EU Bookshop and will also be available directly on the DG HOME website.
For more information contact: