Within the plenary session in September, the European Parliament voted in favour of the creation of a new EU travel document, which can speed up the process of returning non-EU nationals who stay irregularly in EU member states without valid passports or identity cards.
MEPs agreed upon the need that the current travel document to be significantly improved and harmonized. The introduction of a new document has to reduce the differences between Member States, the level of bureaucracy and the length of the administrative procedure for return and readmission. Moreover, the lack of valid travel documents issued by some third countries is also a major obstacle to a successful return process. Because of the incomplete and misleading data and of the poor quality of the documents, third country authorities are often reluctant to readmit such persons, since it is difficult to judge whether they are their own citizens.
MEP Sógor Csaba considers that for the smooth return of illegal residents in the European Union it is extremely important to improve the technical and safety characteristics of travel documents. However, according to the MEP, the EU also needs to find an answer to the uncomfortable question regarding what the authorities of the EU Member States can do in case when a failed asylum seeker does not want to return to the home country. “The most important question here is more about how to follow through the rejected asylum requests. If we don’t deal with this issue, the whole asylum policy becomes meaningless. If everyone can stay, even the ones who were refused asylum status, then this is neither a refugee policy, nor an immigration policy, but plain chaos", added the representative of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania.