Green leader demands new refugee agreement between EU and Turkey

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For the chairwoman of the Green Party Annalena Baerbock, the refugee agreement between the EU and Turkey has failed. She calls for a new agreement that does not “let the 27 EU states fall like dominoes when Erdogan blows.

Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock has called the refugee agreement between the EU and Turkey a failure and called for a new, better agreement. “Instead of this failed deal, we need a new agreement guaranteed by the rule of law, which learns from the mistakes of the past, ensures that people are well cared for and that the 27 EU states do not fall like dominoes when Erdogan blows once,” Baerbock told the newspaper Rheinische Post in Düsseldorf.

The agreement with Ankara had not only failed in the past few days, but in the “terrible camps of Lesbos”, Baerbock said, with a view to the overcrowded refugee shelters on the Greek Aegean island. European sovereignty is demonstrated by the fact that the EU is making further binding financial commitments to support the more than four million refugees in Turkey. They need access to schools, hospitals and the labour market.

People as negotiating mass
“A functioning agreement also 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,” said Baerbock, referring to the embattled province in north-western Syria. Turkey had to stop abusing people as a bargaining chip and safeguard the rights of those in need of protection.

The Green leader warned that the Refugee Convention and thus fundamental basic rights in the EU were currently at stake. “If one Member State now suspends a fundamental right and everyone keeps silent, where does it stop? Today it is the right to asylum in Greece. And tomorrow it’s freedom of opinion in Hungary?”, said Baerbock.

atten concluded a refugee agreement in March 2016, after hundreds of thousands of refugees had arrived in Central Europe via the Balkan route in 2015. Ankara committed itself to take back all refugees arriving in the Greek Aegean islands and to take stronger action against gangs of smugglers. The EU promised Turkey billions in aid, accelerated visa facilitation and the modernisation of the customs union.

Last week, the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the borders to the EU following the escalation of the situation in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. Greek security forces have since prevented tens of thousands of people from crossing the border, among other things by using tear gas. The Greek head of government Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday that the EU-Turkey Refugee Pact was “dead”.

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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