Saturday

25th May 2019

EU unveils Turkey migration plan

  • Erdogan hugs it out with Commission chief Juncker in Brussels earlier this week (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The European Commission published on Tuesday (6 October) a detailed list of actions that Turkey and the EU should take to stem the flow of migrants, just as EU Council Donal Tusk warned in Strasbourg that another 3 million refugees could come from Syria if Bashar Al-Assad’s regime wins.

The “Action Plan” was agreed in principle by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his visit to Brussels on Monday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Next week, high-level talks will start between Turkey and the Commission to hammer out the details of the deal.

The plan offers Turkey financial assistance, on top of the €1 billion already committed, to “weaken the push factors” - bad conditions in refugee camps in the region forcing migrants and refugees to move towards Europe.

Under the plan the EU would assist Turkey to strengthen its capacity to combat migrant smuggling by reinforcing the Turkish Coast Guard’s interception capacity.

Commission sources say over the last nine months more than 350,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Syria, have left Turkey for Greece, and only 50,000 were stopped by Turkish border authorities.

The plan also foresees a liaison officer in Turkey for Frontex, the EU’s external border agency to exchange information on smugglers networks.

It lays out plans to organise joint return operations between Turkey and EU member states towards countries of origins of migrants who are not eligible for asylum.

On the other hand, the plan asks Turkey to register migrants, provide them with documents, and complete their asylum procedures.

It says priority will be given to the opening of the six refugee reception centers built with European co-funding.

It would also like to see Turkey implement policies that will help refugees integrate into Turkish society. This includes access to work, education, and public services.

The plan asks Turkey to smoothly readmit irregular migrants who don’t need international protection and who were caught in neighboring Greece, Bulgaria or further north, Romania.

It promises to accelerate the visa liberalisation for Turkey, once the plan is implemented.

The implementation will be monitored by the European Commission, along with EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini and the Turkish government.

The plan was unveiled as EU Council President Donald Tusk made a stark warning in the European Parliament on Tuesday.

“A potential victory of Assad’s regime, more likely today because of Iran’s and Russia’s engagement in Syria, will result in the next migratory wave. According to Turkish estimates, another 3 million potential refugees may come from Aleppo and its neighborhood,” the former Polish prime minister said in a speech.

“We finally have to understand it, today millions of potential refugees and migrants are dreaming about Europe, not only from Syria, but also from Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and other places, “ he added.

“For all refugees, easy access to Europe and lack of external borders have become, besides the wilkommenpolitik, a magnate attracting them to us, “ said Tusk criticizing Germany’s open door policy as an invitation to refugees and migrants.

He also stressed the need to protect the EU’s external border as a precondition for an “effective, humanitarian and safe migratory policy.”

“Let us have no illusions. Today, we have to count mainly on ourselves. The world around us doesn’t intend to help Europe. We are slowly becoming witnesses to the birth of a new form of political pressure, and some even call it a kind of a new hybrid war, in which migratory waves have become a tool, a weapon against neighbors. This requires particular sensitivity and responsibility on our side,” Tusk said.

Turkey targets Kurdish rebels after bomb attack

Turkish warplanes hit Kurdish rebel targets after the bomb attack over the weekend in Ankara, for which the government blames Islamic State. Ankara vows elections on 1 November will go ahead.

News in Brief

  1. UK's May announces June 7 resignation date
  2. Ireland votes for EU election and divorce referendum
  3. Report: May to announce resignation plan on Friday
  4. Leading politicians: time for EU to have female leaders
  5. Poll: Finland's Green party to surge in EU elections
  6. High demand for postal voting in Denmark
  7. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations
  8. Switzerland unlikely to sign draft EU deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Belgium votes in hybrid EU-national election
  2. Irish greens take Dublin in second EU exit poll
  3. EU election results to trigger top jobs scramble This WEEK
  4. Don't tell the Dutch - but Timmermans 'won'
  5. EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'
  6. Strache scandal: how big a hit will Austrian far-right take?
  7. Italy train row exposes competing views of EU
  8. Dutch socialists on top in first EP election exit poll

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  3. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  8. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  9. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  10. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  11. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us