Global Independent Analytics

Refugee crisis: There's a deal, but implementing it won't be easy

The migrant crisis has put the EU to shame. Refugee misery. Asylum seekers' agony. Chaos, friction and division.

In her article for BBC Katya Adler reports: under the EU-Turkey deal those arriving in Greece after midnight on Saturday will be denied entrance if their asylum claim is rejected. The deal implies shipping those who do not qualify for asylum back to Turkey.

In exchange, member countries of the EU – not including Britain – promised to take tens of thousands of refugees from Ankara, already struggling with almost 3 million Syrians, to Europe. Moreover, under the deal, Turkey will get billions in financial aid, unprecedented visa admittance and a re-energizing of its EU membership bid. It is safe to say that in its desire to stem the refugee flow, EU is paying an enormous price regarding money and political credibility to Turkey.

Adler continues: The migrant crisis has divided Europe, frightened its people and emboldened populist politicians who pose a challenge to the leaders meeting here in Brussels.

In desperation, they have agreed to Turkey's steep financial and political demands - with the usual if's and but's typical of EU agreements - but the deal is legally, practically and morally so contentious that its wording in public is deliberately opaque in many areas.”

To act under this plan, Greece has to change its asylum laws and to recognize Turkey officially as a so-called safe country. To get this badge, Turkey in its turn needs to adjust its legislation so that it fully meets the Geneva Human Rights Convention; something which Turkish authorities refuse to do.

By current Turkish laws, only European and Syrian refugees can claim for the asylum. However, the law does not include neither Iraqi nor Afghan asylum seekers, who make up 40% of migrant boat arrivals in the EU. It is rather unclear yet what will happen to them under this new agreement. Moreover, the chances are that those who have risked their lives to get to Greece will not implicitly pack their boats and quietly go. The question is, whether Europe will stomach the scenes.

“Bear in mind the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize a few years back for promoting peace, reconciliation and human rights in Europe.

Should it be making deals with a country like Turkey whose president is becoming increasingly autocratic and arguably undemocratic?

And whether or not the Turkey deal works, it is no silver bullet, as Donald Tusk, the EU summit host and European Council president, put it on Friday evening,” assumes Adler.

Now Greece is striving to cope with those arrivals that have entered the country before the agreement was signed. Not only that, but there also is extreme unwillingness to share the burden amongst many other member countries of the EU. People are coming from Turkey, Bulgaria, Libya and through the Albanian mountains: they are desperate and will stop at nothing.

“On Friday, Turkey was complicated enough. Leaders at the summit did not go into detail about an EU Plan B on the migrant crisis.

They need one,” concludes Adler.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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