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The EU-Turkey Refugee Deal
While the European Union reached agreement with Turkey on a deal to attempt to solve the migrant crisis the other day, it is going to take a number of weeks to fully implement and as President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said when it was signed, “It is the biggest challenge the EU has ever faced,” he said.
There is a lot of skepticism whether the deal will work, which involves sending most immigrants back to Turkey after they have reached Greece.
Chris Morris / BBC News
“European leaders insist that everything will be in compliance with the law.
“ ‘It excludes any kind of collective expulsions,’ emphasized European Council President Donald Tusk.
“But Amnesty International has accused the EU of ‘turning its back on a global refugee crisis, and willfully ignoring its international obligations.’
“The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) will take part in the scheme, but it is clearly uncomfortable with what has been agreed.
“And the scale of what will need to be done – and done quickly – on the Greek islands is staggering:
“ – Thousands of European officials will have to be dispatched to the islands within a matter of weeks.
“ – The ‘hot-spot’ reception areas which have been set up over the last few months will have to be turned into detention centers.
“ – Tribunals will have to be set up to ensure that every refugee and migrant has their case heard on an individual basis, including the right of appeal.
“ – Turkish police officers will have to go to the islands to cooperate with the Greek police after decades of trying to ignore each other.
“ ‘I have no illusions that what we agreed to today will be accompanied by further setbacks,’ admitted Angela Merkel.
“ ‘There are big legal challenges that we must now overcome.’
“The German chancellor argued, that the agreement has ‘irreversible momentum.’ Others think it could quite easily fall apart.”
How much protection Turkey will provide all migrants is very much up for debate, even as they are supposed to do so under the Geneva Convention.
For now, beginning in April, for each Syrian migrant sent back, another will be resettled from a refugee camp in Turkey directly to the EU.
Which creates different issues that I have been covering, and will continue to do so, in my Week in Review columns. [See my WIR of 3/26 and Poland.]
Hot Spots will return in a few weeks.
*These columns are often dated a little differently from actual ‘post-date’ for archival purposes.