ERSO is a network of several European Reintegration Support Organizations working closely together in the field of migration and development. The ERSO network’s objective is to exchange and collect expertise, best practices and information concerning voluntary return and reintegration. The ERSO network also develops and implements – EU co-financed – joint projects aiming inter alia to enhance reintegration of voluntary returnees and thus the sustainability of the return, as well as to build up capacities of local organizations working in the field of reintegration.
ERSO Network members believe that migration entails a potential of having a positive impact on individuals and families. It is not the intention of the ERSO Network to promote voluntary return and persuade migrants to leave the EU, but to offer them support to take a free and self-determined decision on return and – if they decide in favor of return – to help them to fully reintegrate in their local society.
ERSO Network members
respect the individual’s right to self-determination to decide for or against a voluntary return by providing impartial non-directive information
stand for respect for human dignity and human rights with special measures for vulnerable persons
stand for fair procedures and best practices in voluntary return and reintegration counseling and assistance services.
ERSO Network members provide and/or implement
impartial counseling and/or assistance to migrants in regular or irregular situation regarding their voluntary return and reintegration, and/or
reintegration measures after return in partnership with civil societies in countries of origin, and/or
capacity building measures aiming at informing potential migrants about migration laws and policies and implications of irregular migration
The ERSO Network further
enhances understanding, and is complementary to existing government programs focused on voluntary return and reintegration.
wants to contribute to the harmonization of the current systems and different approaches implemented by EU Member States which not only build up an unfair system, but bear a potential of discontent between returnees and challenge the sustainability of a voluntary return.
aims at building upon more coherence of projects and possibilities in the field of voluntary return and reintegration.
engages in capacity building for civil society organizations in EU member states interested in working in the field of pre-departure counseling and/or reintegration support measures
We offer support for return and reintegration in the coloured countries,
together with our partner organisations in the ERSO network (2018).
In 2007, the ERSO Network was established by 9 European NGO’s to improve the quality and effectiveness of counseling and return assistance for migrants returning to their Countries of Origin (CoO).
Since its establishment, 4 projects have been delivered by the ERSO network:
The first project, ERSO I, started in 2007 and focused on the exchange of information among the European ERSO members through internships. The project’s goal was to enable ERSO staff to learn from each other’s practical work, to become acquainted with the specific institutional environment in each EU country and to learn more about the NGO contacts in the refugee origin countries. The founding partners were Refugee Action UK, Caritas International Belgium, Caritas Austria, JRS Portugal, Caritas Bulgaria, ICMC, Caritas Europe, Raphaelswerk Germany, Caritas Essen and the Dutch Cordaid-Mediation Agency for Return.
ERSO II, launched in 2008, offered reintegration support in Armenia, Kosovo, Mongolia, Ukraine and Sierra Leone. The exchange of information under ERSO I was the foundation for the implementation of the focal point system: a European ERSO member is responsible for the follow-up of reintegration support in a particular country of return. From the original partners, only JRS Portugal withdrew, while the Spanish NGO ACCEM and Caritas Hungary joined. Ukraine Solidarity New was framed within ERSO II and focused on reintegration and networking in Ukraine.
ERSO West started in January 2011 and ended in December 2013. This project offered reintegration support in 5 African countries (Morocco, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon and Sierra Leone) through 5 local NGOs that had already formed a partnership with one of the European ERSO members. Caritas International (Belgium), Accem (Spain) and Maatwerk bij Terugkeer (The Netherlands) were the European focal points for these countries.
ERSO SURE VD
The ERSO Sustainable Return of Vulnerable and Disabled persons (SURE VD) project supported vulnerable and disadvantaged people in their reintegration process. The project ran between November 2012 and April 2014. ERSO SURE VD was comprised of 4 European focal points, Maatwerk bij Terugkeer (the Netherlands), Caritas Austria, Refugee Action (United Kingdom) and Caritas International (Belgium), 3 Asian countries, Iraq, Mongolia and Pakistan, and a learning partner, MET Action (Greece).
Today, after some changes in membership, the ERSO network consists of 10 members: Caritas Austria, Caritas International Belgium, Caritas Poland, Dutch Council for Refugees, Micado Migration Germany, Raphaelswerk Germany, Danish Refugee Council, Caritas Norway, Caritas Europe and Refugee Action UK.