The day in Brussels started with a breakfast. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council president Donald Tusk, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and an army of assistants sat around the long table do discuss Refugees and Migrants.
Juncker and Tusk present a draft of the EU-Turkey deal that they had prepared together with the 28 EU leaders on Friday around a …dinner table.
As the purpose of a draft is to leave space for bargain, Davutoglu & Co keep enjoying their breakfast.
Keep point of the EUCO draft and relocation scheme is that the number of 160,000 refugees to be relocated fell below the half. “EU member states will admit a total of 72,000 Syrian refugees from Turkey.”
18,000 +54,000 resettlement on voluntary basis.
Draft: “ For every Syrian being returned to Turkey from Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU. […] On the EU side, resettlement under this mechanism will take place, in the first instance, by honouring the commitments taken by Member States in the conclusions of Representatives of the Governments of Member States meeting within the Council on 22 July 2015, of which 18.000 places for resettlement remain. Any further need for resettlement will be carried out through a similar voluntary arrangement up to a limit of an additional 54.000 persons.”
EU Commission representative in Athens Karvounis told Star TV this morning that when this number is reached a new deal would have to be made.
Another important point is that the draft notes that re-location 1:1 scheme for Syrian refugees and re-admission of migrants to start as soon as possible, specifically “20. March 2016.” The agreement will cover refugees and migrants arriving to Greece as of this day.
Draft: “All new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey into Greek islands will be returned to Turkey.”
The more than 45,000 refugees and migrants currently in Greece will have to remain here. The EU is supposed to send an army of staff (judges, translators etc) to help Greece with the asylum procedure. This staff will settled on the Greek islands.
KTG’s proposal is: Instead of sending an army of staff, the EU staff should train the army of Greek jobless to do this work.
The EUCO draft is a diplomatic victory for Cyprus as it puts political obstacles to opening of EU accession chapters and President Nikos Anastasiades insists to veto the EU-Turkey deal on refugees.
Will Davutoglu accept the EUCO offer?
Signs are not optimistic, right now, and negotiations are expected to extend longer than the daylight hours.
Of course, the main question is: even if a deal is reached, will it be effective in reality? Because, if the EU member states continue to refuse to accept refugees, Turkey will not take refugees from Greece, and the EU deal will go bathing in the Aegean Sea. As many deals about Migration in the past.
PS it looks as if EU leaders cannot take important decisions without food on the table. Between the starter (fish & shellfish a la nage) and the main course (Belgian chicken with asparagus & morchel mushrooms) at Thursday’s dinner, the EU leaders swallowed 88,000 refugees.