The EU expects Turkey to stop its “blackmailing policy”. Money is then to be paid. For the Green leader, the refugee deal has failed.
The EU is in principle prepared to continue to provide Turkey with earmarked assistance. We expect that Ankara’s blackmailing policy will be stopped by sending refugees to the EU,” EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn told the newspaper Die Welt. The sum of aid would also be “significantly less than in the past four years”, Hahn said.
The refugee agreement between Turkey and the EU, negotiated almost four years ago, provides for aid for refugees living in Turkey to the tune of six billion euros. In return, Turkey had undertaken to prevent illegal border crossings, to take back all refugees arriving in the Greek Aegean islands and to take stronger action against gangs of smugglers. However, after many more fugitives from Syria arrived in Turkey in recent weeks, the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reopened the borders to the EU last week.
“Many schools, kindergartens and hospitals for refugees have already been built and do not need to be financed again,” Hahn said as justification for the planned cutbacks. “The need has therefore become smaller.” The money will continue to be “exclusively earmarked and mostly paid out via aid organizations”.
Refugee deal is “dead
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on the other hand, called the EU-Turkey Refugee Pact “dead” on Friday. Since Turkey opened its side of the border, Greek soldiers and police have been preventing tens of thousands of people from crossing the border into the EU, among other things by using tear gas.
Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock also declared the refugee agreement of 2016 a “failure”. She called in the Rheinische Post newspaper for a “new agreement guaranteed by the rule of law”. Baerbock said that an agreement was needed “that learns from past mistakes, ensures that people are well provided for, and that the 27 EU states do not fall like dominoes when Erdogan blows once”.
He said Turkey must stop abusing people as a bargaining chip and respect the rights of those in need of protection. At the same time, a functioning agreement “includes a reliable commitment to the resettlement of particularly vulnerable people from Turkey to Europe – especially in light of the acute situation in the Idlib region”, Baerbock said. In her eyes, the refugee pact with Turkey has also failed not only in recent days, but already in the “terrible camps of Lesbos”, Baerbock said, referring to the overcrowded refugee shelters on the Greek Aegean island.