Smiles and handshakes after «historic» deal, but…
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EPP Group considers agreement with Turkey key to resolving migration crisis
The outcome of the EU-Turkey Summit is a very positive one. We have done everything that was possible. We have overcome national egoisms and presented a common and very clear offer to Turkey,” said Manfred Weber, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament. We managed to close the so-called Balkan route for illegal migration. This was a firm EPP Group position. We are helping Greece cope with the incoming number of refugees. Now together with Turkey we are going to implement the agreement and as first step to fight traffickers effectively. A key element in the solution of the migrant crisis is for Turkey to take back all people coming to Greece.
But there are two sides to every coin. On the one hand we reduce the numbers of illegal migrants and on the other, we indicate legal channels to come to Europe to people who need our help, people from places like Aleppo. But there will be no “refugee rebate” for Turkey when it comes to visa liberalisation for instance. The country has to implement all the visa rules and only then will the European Parliament discuss possible visa liberalisation. Now the time has come for all of us to start delivering, including those countries that have so far contributed little to manage the crisis. We have the will to succeed and this is a very important signal,
Positive first step but questions remain over EU-Turkey deal. The key is creating a functional relocation system
Following the agreement hammered out in the Council between the 28 Member States and Turkey over the migration crisis, the Socialists and Democrats Group leader, Gianni Pittella, stated:
“The agreement with Turkey is a positive step that must be welcomed. The current version of the deal has been improved, thanks to the pressure put on the Council by the European Parliament and the S&D Group. However it still raises doubts and concerns regarding the complicated practical implementation involved but also regarding its legality under international human rights conventions.”
“First, we expect extensive financial, logistic aid and expertise to be granted to Greece in order to run a proper hosting and registration system. We cannot turn Greece into a huge migration camp. Secondly, we will keep a close eye to ensure that international and European human rights conventions are respected. Moreover, the S&D Group strongly believes that the visa-free entry regime to Turkish citizens should be granted only if and when the 72 outlined benchmarks are met.
“The Turkish EU accession process – in which we believe – cannot be turned into a bargaining chip for Turkey in dealing with the refugee crisis. No trade off can be allowed here.
“Even the opening of a new chapter is not a blank check for the Turkish government. Turkey must comply fully with the Ankara Protocol concerning the Republic of Cyprus.
“The deal with Turkey is a part of the solution, not the solution itself. We firmly believe that only by implementing the relocation system, reinforcing Schengen and by reviewing the Dublin agreement, will Europe finally be capable of resolving the migration crisis in the long term. The EU is first and foremost a family based on solidarity”.
EU leaders have just gone all in while holding a bad hand
EU leaders have just gone all in while holding a bad hand. I genuinely hope that this agreement makes a difference but I fear by this Autumn we will look back and realise it was a very costly error that turned Greece into a processing camp, did little to stem numbers of economic migrants seeking to come to certain parts of Europe, and didn’t find a meaningful solution to how EU will distribute the people received between Member States.
“Prime Ministers have the right motives: to end the link between boarding a boat and remaining in Europe; but I doubt how practical this agreement will be in reality.”
Conservatives and Reformists Group
European Parliament has to scrutinise this deal, to assess whether all international obligations have been met.
It is now the duty of the Parliament, which has co-decision in the matter of migration and asylum, to assess whether this agreement is fully compliant with our international obligations. Turkey has to change its legislation and to subscribe to all parts of the Geneva Convention.”
The ALDE Group stresses that it will only give its consent on visa liberalisation after the 72 requirements have been adopted by the Turkish authorities and once the Commission has produced an analysis on the sustainability of the implementation of the measures.
Verhofstadt warns that this deal could help to fix the excessive influx via Greece, but is not the magic solution to end the refugee crisis: “One of the reasons why Europe is not managing this refugee crisis is because we have failed to deliver a genuine European asylum and migration policy. We should not be naive, the smugglers will find new routes to Europe. That’s why our first priority should be to set up a European Border and Coast Guard.”
“We are in an emergency situation and it is incomprehensible that it takes such a long time before the Council can agree to these essential instruments. We are always two steps behind the smugglers. The European Commission has put the proposals on the table, let’s now finally implement them.”
Le Parlement européen doit examiner cet accord, pour déterminer si toutes les obligations internationales ont étés respectées
Il est maintenant du devoir du Parlement, en codécision en matière de migration et de droit d’asile, de déterminer si cet accord respecte entièrement nos obligations internationales. La Turquie doit modifier sa législation et souscrire à l’entièreté de la Convention de Genève. ”
L’alliance des démocrates et des libéraux pour l’Europe souligne qu’elle ne donnera son consentement à une libéralisation des visas que lorsque les 72 conditions nécessaires auront étés adoptées par les autorités turques et lorsque la Commission aura livré une analyse quant à la viabilité de la mise en œuvre de ces mesures.
Guy Verhofstadt met en garde contre cet accord qui pourrait contribuer à réduire l’afflux excessif vers la Grèce, mais souligne qu’il ne s’agit aucunement d’une solution magique afin de mettre un terme à la crise des réfugiés : “L’une des raisons pour laquelle l’Europe ne contrôle pas cette crise des réfugiés réside dans notre échec à mettre en place une approche européenne commune de droit d’asile et de migration. Ne soyons pas naïfs : les passeurs trouveront de nouvelles routes vers l’Europe. Voilà pourquoi notre priorité absolue doit être la mise en place immédiate d’un Corps européen de garde-côtes et de garde-frontières.”
“Nous faisons face à une situation d’urgence. Il est incompréhensible qu’il faille si longtemps pour que le Conseil se mette d’accord sur ces instruments essentiels. Les passeurs ont toujours une longueur d’avance sur nous. La Commission européenne a mis la proposition sur la table, mettons-la finalement en œuvre maintenant.”
Necessary to work with the Turkish authorities, but…
EU leaders are edging towards moral bankruptcy in their response to the refugee crisis. Faced with a massive humanitarian crisis at our borders and a growing one within Europe, the dithering and division among EU governments is unpicking the common values which are the foundations of the European Union. Instead of haggling on how to outsource their responsibility to receive refugees fleeing from conflict and persecution, EU leaders should end their shameful unwillingness to agree and implement a common European response to accepting and distributing these refugees.
“While it is necessary to work with the Turkish authorities to ensure a more humane and organised approach, this cannot be an excuse for member states to ditch previous relocation commitments. It also cannot lead EU governments to shy away from exerting political pressure on the Erdogan regime to ensure respect of fundamental rights and political pluralism. With the situation in Turkey again spiralling out of control, the EU must renew efforts to push for a peaceful solution to the conflict in the country.”
EU-Turkey Statement Addressing the Migration and Refugee Crisis
The United States views as an important step the agreement reached today between the EU and Turkey on responding to the unprecedented flow of refugees and migrants in the region. We commend Turkish efforts to date in generously hosting more than 2.7 million refugees from Syria.
The United States has an abiding interest in the welfare of refugees and migrants, including those who are risking their lives in a desperate attempt to find safety and opportunity in Europe. We commend language in the agreement affirming that all refugees deserve access to protection and which makes clear the agreement will be implemented in full accordance with EU and international law.
We strongly endorse action to shut down the illegal smuggling operations that prey on and exploit vulnerable migrants. These actions will be key to the success of this agreement, along with rapid registration and processing of asylum claims, humane handling of migrant returns, quick provision of promised support to Greece and Turkey, and solidarity among EU member states in meeting their commitments to share in the responsibility of formal relocation and resettlement of asylum seekers and refugees.
The United States stands ready to increase our support to affected countries and to help other nations neighboring Syria. In addition to our own contributions to international organizations and non-governmental organizations — and efforts to resettle refugees — we will play an active role in mobilizing the world to do more, including by convening the President’s Summit on Refugees in New York on September 20th of this year.
Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs