BRUSSELS, 13 SEPTEMBER – “Since 2008, every year around half a million non-EU citizens have received an injunction to leave the Union because they had entered or stayed there without authorization. However, less than one in five has actually returned to their country outside of Europe ”: the EU Court of Auditors points out in a report on readmissions. One of the causes of the low number of returns of irregular migrants is the difficulty in cooperating with their countries of origin, explains the court. In the period 2015-2020, “the EU has made little progress in concluding the negotiations for readmission agreements, which have mainly run into long-standing problems, first of all the clause on third-country nationals”, that is the rule that allows the repatriation of persons to a third country they had passed through before entering the EU. Third countries tend to oppose this clause – the experts explain – as it is politically very sensitive and not rooted in international law. In practice, the third country nationals clause is applied sporadically for legal, operational and human rights reasons. (HANDLE).