31st March 2014: This afternoon at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution during a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on a Commission Statement on EU Returns Policy.
"I would not normally be arrogant enough to claim to speak on behalf of the whole audience but on this occasion I am the whole audience - the only MEP present in the audience (excluding the Vice President on the platform).
"Sometimes people - and this includes the Commission - communicate true motivations unintentionally.
" 'The return of third country nationals without legal grounds to stay is essential to the credibility of an EU legal migration and asylum policy'.
"So, there you have it, the introduction to the statement. A Returns Policy's purpose is to provide credibility for the EU bringing more and more immigrants through official channels. Its purpose is to allay concern.
"You might have noticed that there is no use of the words 'complete' or 'comprehensive' before the words 'returns policy'. That is just as well, because only a fraction of those issued with a 'return decision' (Euro Speak for an order to go) eventually leave. That was 178,000 out of a total of 484,000 in 2012 - about 36% by my mental arithmetic calculation.
"The reason for this is that those given a return decision are rarely returned forcibly and there is usually no check on whether the person has left.
"The Commission document expresses surprise that people, who have entered the EU without authority, are not going to leave the EU voluntarily, when not forced to do so.
"I remember a student of mine told me that he had lied on a visa form for the United States and he was stopped at the (United States) airport and put onto a return flight immediately.
"A returns policy is not difficult if it is intended to succeed."