EU member states should intensify efforts, close up loopholes and increase cooperation to more effectively return migrants who do not qualify for staying in the bloc, the European Commission said Thursday.
The set of recommendations presented by Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU commissioner for migration, comes after EU leaders called for a review of the EU's return policy during a summit in February.
The recommendations include better coordination among services and authorities involved in the return process, faster and more effective handling of return decisions and asylum requests and closing loopholes that allow migrants to abuse the system.
"Our aim is to call on member states to take coordinated actions to implement a fair but efficient return system," Avramopoulos said.
He urged EU countries to "use the possibility" of placing migrants in detention for the time period needed to arrange the return procedure if there is a risk of absconding.
He noted that EU guidelines allow detention for a maximum of six months, however, many member states have shorter national limits on detention, which means that migrants are released before the readmission process to their country of origin is complete.
Avramopoulos urged countries to "fully use" the flexibility granted under EU law, noting that all guidelines were in line with the EU's human rights policy.
"It should never be considered something like a concentration camp: it is far away from our principles, from our values, from our policies, from our law and from our will," he said.