On 13 October 2016, the Council adopted a regulation that establishes a uniform European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals (European travel document for return), in particular its format, security features and technical specifications.
"Thanks to its enhanced features, the uniform European travel document represents one of the key measures which can contribute to the effective return of third country nationals. As a practical step, it is now crucial to build good cooperation with the countries of origin," said Robert Kaliňák, Minister for the Interior of Slovakia and President of the Council.
The enhanced security features and technical specifications of the new travel document will facilitate its recognition by third countries and will speed up the returns in the context of readmission agreements or other arrangements concluded by the EU or by the member states with third countries.
The new travel document will also reduce administrative and bureaucratic burdens and the length of the administrative procedures necessary for ensuring return and readmission of illegally staying third-country nationals.
The return of third-country nationals who do not fulfil or no longer fulfil the conditions for entry, stay or residence in the member states, with full respect for their fundamental rights and in compliance with the EU acquis, is an essential part of the comprehensive efforts to ensure the credibility and the proper and effective functioning of the EU migration policy and to reduce and deter irregular migration.