Brussels, March 19th, 2016
Declaration on the EU-Turkey Statement and the EU Summit conclusions
In light of the conclusion of the recent European Summit, Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer, Co-Chairs of the European Green Party, state:
“The deal reached yesterday between the European Council and Turkey opens the way for a substantial disapplication in the EU of the individual right to asylum of people who are legally entitled to it.
The time of welcoming crowds last summer is now replaced by an openly and brazen attempt of organising what could become a systematic pushback which; hits the heart of the EU credibility as an area where the rule of law applies, promises new tragedies, will cost an enormous amount of public resources and will not stop people trying to reach Europe, all while the root causes for the influx remain.
The deal is contradictory in terms. It talks about sending back “all” irregular migrants, which is a practice that is completely against the established European and international law, while simultaneously saying this will be done in accordance to existing regulation. It poses; real issues in terms concrete implementation, disregards the daily reality in the field and it is likely to create additional suffering and cause more confusion. Greece and Turkey carry an extremely heavy burden in terms of management of administrational procedures and provided no guarantees on the conditions in which would-be refugees would be kept. This greatly limits their possibility to find a different option than to be allocated in camps or even becoming confined for a long time in the so-called “hot-spots”.
Turkey already hosts 2.7 million Syrian and other migrants. It is facing an extremely tense internal situation that already provoked 300.000 internally displaced people in the South-East. It is also a fact that the government of Tayyip Erdogan is moving closer towards an authoritarian system every day. It’s hardly a “safe country” for anyone.
There is yet more to be worried about. The system that the EU will try to put in place is based on a mechanism that is doomed to fail. Yes, the prerequisite is that EU members accept to welcome a substantial number of refugees, so they are encouraged to choose legal channels instead of ending up in the hands of smugglers. However, the Summit Conclusions clearly stated that the numbers will remain the same and these numbers are ridiculously low. Legal channels are therefore still effectively locked.
A real solution is not in sight. As soon as 72.000 people are resettled in the EU, the already difficult to organise “one-to-one swap” will stop. If we take into consideration that in the first three months of 2016 more than 100.000 people reached Greece, we can once again see that the actual intention behind the deal is to prevent would-be refugees to reach Europe.
Smugglers know this and they are getting organised. Syrian refugees are starting to reach Sicily. Federica Mogherini warned Member States in a letter that smugglers are operating freely in Libya and that 450.000 potential “candidates” for migration and asylum are known to be there. This deal will not stop more scenes of desperate people sinking in boats this summer.
The deal reached by the Council is short-sighted, ineffective, cynical and costly. Other ways are definitely possible, if governments, would have the courage to face a perfectly manageable situation in terms of; numbers, resources available and even readiness of many citizens, associations and local authorities to help those in need without jeopardizing the security and the lives of all of us. Instead of running after cynical media and populists who spread fear in the illusion to regain waning consensus.”
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Interim Press Officer