Saturday

17th Nov 2018

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. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us