The EU plans to deport hundreds of thousands of migrants back to their home countries within weeks, according to a Brussels secret document leaked to British daily the Times.
The plans apparently include the creation of a new "dedicated return office" unit in the EU's Frontex border guard agency to deal with the "irregular migrants." The EU plans to use trade treaty clauses to force the return of refugees whose asylum applications failed to countries including Mali, Niger, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, which have development aid and trade treaties with the EU, the Times reported.
"All measures must be taken to ensure irregular migrants’ effective return, including use of detention," the leaked EU document said.
"Increased return rates should act as a deterrent to irregular migration," the document also said.
According to the Times, the plan only applies to Schengen Area EU countries, which don't include the UK or Ireland. The plan could impact as many as 400,000 asylum seekers who had their claims rejected in recent months, according to the newspaper.
The leaked document also called on member states to be more active in the deportations and take greater care to identify and deport illegal migrants.
"Member states must systematically issue return decisions, take all necessary steps to enforce them and provide adequate resources, necessary for identifying and returning illegally staying third-country nationals," the document said.
According to the document, EU countries which do not enforce the deportations would also face legal action from the European Commission, the Times reported.