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“Six Principles” Draft for EU-Turkey deal released

A load of papers has been produced by officials and commissioners and presidents and vice presidents in Brussels just a couple of hours before the EU Leaders Summit meet to find solutions for the Refugee and Migration. One of these documents is a Six Principles draft aiming to strike a deal between EU and Turkey on the refugees and migrants.

Six Principles for further developing EU-Turkey Cooperation in tackling the Migration Crisis

Brussels, 16 March 2016

1. Legal safeguards for the return of all new irregular migrants and asylum seekers crossing from Turkey into the Greek islandsThe return of irregular migrants and asylum seekers whose claims have been declared inadmissible or rejected, an essential component in breaking the pattern of migrants paying smugglers and risking their lives, can only be carried out in respect of European and international law. The arrangements for such returns, both of those in need of international protection, and those who are not, should only be considered as a temporary and extraordinary measure aimed at putting an end to the human suffering resulting from the current significant flows between Turkey and Greece.

All returns need to be carried out in line with the refugee protection safeguards that have been put in place in international and EU law. This entails that every asylum application is treated individually, respecting the clear legal and procedural parameters set out in the EU Asylum Procedures Directive. There is no question of applying a ‘blanket’ return policy, which would be contrary to the legal requirements and the fundamental rights of asylum seekers.

Readmission of people not in need of international protection: All new irregular migrants and asylum seekers entering Greece found not in need of international protection will be returned to Turkey under the bilateral readmission Agreement between Greece and Turkey.

Returning persons in need of international protection: Under EU law (Articles 35 and 38 of the Asylum Procedures Directive), an asylum application can be closed and declared inadmissible if a person has already been recognised as a refugee or already enjoys sufficient protection in a “first country of asylum”, or if a person has come to the EU from a “safe third country” which can guarantee effective access to protection. A number of safeguards exist to protect asylum seekers’ rights, including individual examinations of every case, personal interviews and a right of appeal against inadmissibility decisions.

Practical arrangements: In order to apply these provisions, modifications would be required to both Greek and Turkish domestic legislation – in Greece to ensure Turkey is classified a safe third country and in Turkey to ensure access to effective asylum procedures for all persons in need of international protection. Fast-track operational arrangements between Greece and Turkey will also need to be put in place, including an increase of the reception capacity in the Greek islands and an adaptation of the hotspots to host readmission and asylum offices.

2. A 1:1 resettlement scheme

For every Syrian national returned from the Greek islands another will be resettled to the EU directly from Turkey. In order to function, Member States should make a sufficient number of resettlement places available. Existing commitments used for this purpose will include the 18,000 remaining places from the EU resettlement scheme of 22,504 places agreed in July 2015 and if needed, the use of the unallocated 54,000 places under existing relocation decisions should be considered.

The logistical framework that underpins the Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme with Turkey should be used for the purposes of the 1:1 resettlement scheme – namely relying on the expertise of the UNHCR with the support of EASO, IOM and additional national asylum officers where needed. Once the 1:1 scheme has fulfilled its purpose of stemming migration flows, admissions under the Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme will be activated, with Member States contributing on a voluntary basis.

3. Accelerating the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap

Work on the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap with Turkey will be accelerated – without changing the 72 benchmarks which need to be fulfilled by Turkey (35 of which have already been fulfilled). In order to meet the target of lifting visa requirements by the end of June, Turkey will need to adopt the pending measures in good time. On the understanding that Turkey takes the necessary measures to fulfil the remaining requirements, the Commission will make a legislative proposal to lift the visa requirements for Turkish citizens at the end of April 2016.

4. Speed up the disbursement of funds under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey

The first projects under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey are being financed, with €55 million to address the immediate needs of Syrian school-children in Turkey for access to formal education, and €40 million in humanitarian aid through the World Food Programme. The next step for funding further projects will require the pro-active engagement of the Turkish authorities to finalise the needs analysis by mid-April.

5. Accelerating Accession Negotiations

The Commission and Member States are working on advancing the accession negotiations with Turkey. Preparations are now underway to progress towards the opening of five chapters. The Commission aims to finalise all relate preparatory documents in the spring with a view to submitting them to the Council, without prejudice to Member States’ positions and the negotiating framework.

6. Improving the humanitarian conditions inside Syria

As already stated by the European Council, the EU is ready to work with Turkey to improve humanitarian conditions inside Syria which would allow refugees to live in areas which will be safer. To be successful, it is fundamental that the commitments made by the International Syria Support Group in Munich on 11-12 February are swiftly implemented in full by all parties.

(via EU Consilium)

I see no reference that this 1:1 scheme or readmission will concern only refugees and migrants that will come to Greek islands after the EU-Turkey deal.

I see also that only Syrian refugees are included in this 1:1 scheme but no Iraqis or Afghans. refugees mach of hope

No Syrian? No chance for a warm bed in EU

The agreement has to be accepted by all 28 EU members states and Turkey.

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3 comments

  1. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    For this shit Greece doesn’t need the EU and as the most important parts are no EU-issue either it makes much more sense to deal without “Europeans” and only bilateral with Ankara. If Athens will sign to this it means that Athens strongly supports the EU-access of Turkey but may this lead to the so far biggest job-creation since years, much bigger than any of by EU blackmailed measures.
    The point is also that the EU just wants more “hotspots” and given how long applications for Asylums will take this means exactly what all Kassandras are trying to tell since months…

  2. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    In tourism and traffic and what’s connected like construction-sector, high-velocity-train from Istanbul to Igoumenitsa, the connection and cooperation of ports in Salonika and Ismir, also the gas-pipes from Cyprus are planned through Turkey and Greece, agriculture cooperation will happen. There are plans for more international tourists also, to visit Greece and Turkey organized as one trip and there are empty Greek villages in Turkey that can be rebuild as museum and bars to drink Raki together.