Five-year agreement between the EU and Turkey: criticism, but also support | Free press

Brussels (dpa) – Due to the five-year anniversary of the refugee agreement between the EU and Turkey, the agreement has been heavily criticized.

Politicians from the German opposition parties believe that the deal to curb migration to Greece via Turkey has failed. Aid organizations argue for a change of course in migration policy. However, the federal government sees a success.

Impressed by large refugee flows, the EU and Turkey, a major transit country, agreed on a joint statement on 18 March 2016. This stipulates, among other things, that Turkey will take measures against unauthorized migration to the EU and that Greece can return migrants who have entered the Aegean islands illegally. In return, the EU takes in a Syrian refugee from Turkey for every Syrian returned and supports the country financially in caring for the refugees. At the same time, camps were set up in the Aegean islands, where the migrants still live under sometimes unworthy conditions.

In fact, the number of migrants arriving in the Greek islands has decreased significantly. However, by March 2021, the EU had returned only about 2,740 migrants to Turkey. The EU countries took in 28,621 people – considerably less than promised. In the Corona crisis, both parties then moved away from the agreement. Turkey has suspended the readmission of migrants; the EU stopped the relocation. The EU has been reintroducing Syrians since August. About 3.6 million Syrian refugees live in Turkey.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also using the situation to put pressure on the EU. For example, he opened the border with Greece to migrants last spring. Erdogan was confronted in other areas as well. In addition, he repeatedly demands further aid payments. The EU countries are currently discussing under what conditions the agreement can be continued and what it might look like.

Eight aid organizations, on the other hand, argue for a fundamental change in European refugee policy. The consequences of the pact are disastrous living conditions in the reception centers, illegal refusals at the EU’s external borders and slow asylum procedures, the Oxfam organization criticized. “The EU is responsible for this dramatic humanitarian crisis,” said Oxfam’s Raphael Shilhav.

Political scientist Maximilian Pichl sees the overcrowded camps on the Greek islands as the result of a migration policy that has handed over responsibility for 30 years. “The story that conditions on Moria are a” humanitarian disaster “hides the fact that the” Moria complex “is the result of political decisions and calculations,” said a summary of his analysis on behalf of Medico International. Outsourcing policy goes back to the origins of the EU asylum system around the turn of the millennium, writes the legal and political scientist at Goethe University in Frankfurt.

Left-wing MEP Cornelia Ernst also sharply criticized the agreement. The camps in the Greek islands are “a symbol of fundamental rights violations,” Ernst of the German news agency said. In addition, Turkey is using the migration issue to put pressure on the EU. Green MEP Erik Marquardt complained that the agreement put human rights in the background. Success is measured by how well Europe insulates itself. The deal was also not discussed or passed by the parliaments and largely outside of parliamentary scrutiny. Marquardt called for the causes of flights to be addressed and to ensure that people in the country where they live get perspective.

The federal government, on the other hand, sees the agreement as a success. Both sides stuck to the deal and implemented it together, deputy government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said on Wednesday. The “deadly business model” of the Aegean smugglers has been successfully combated. The number of people entering Greece illegally has fallen significantly, as has the number of deaths in the Aegean Sea.

The President of the Christian Democrats in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, made a similar statement: “Control of the EU’s external borders is a basic requirement for the functioning of migration policy,” said the CSU Vice-President of the Funke Media Group. “The agreement between the EU and Turkey was an important step in this direction.” Erdogan took every opportunity to provoke, but cooperation with Turkey was necessary. “It is also conceivable that the EU will become more involved with Turkey.” However, this assumes constructive behavior from Turkey.

Related Articles

Back to top button