Speaking at a press conference following the EU Foreign and Home Affairs Ministers’ meeting, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said the bloc should renew its migration deal with Turkey.
“… this [EU-Turkey] statement remains valid. And I think it should continue to be implemented and continue to be the key framework for cooperation on migration,” he told journalists.
On March 18, 2016 the European Council and Turkey reached an agreement aimed at stopping the flow of irregular migration via Turkey to Europe. According to the EU-Turkey statement, all new irregular migrants and asylum seekers arriving from Turkey in the Greek islands and whose applications for asylum had been declared inadmissible should be returned to Turkey. The EU pledged €3 billion in 2016-2017 and another €3 billion in 2018-2019 to Turkey as its part of the deal.
Berlin is in favor of extending the EU-Turkey deal, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert stressed on Monday.
Seibert indicated that Berlin is in talks with Ankara over the terms of a new migration deal, as a part of which Turkey wants to include an expanded customs union with the EU and more freedom on the allocation of funding from Brussels earmarked for refugees.
On Friday Amnesty International called on EU leaders to “turn away from failed policies that have resulted in tens of thousands of people being forced to stay in inhumane conditions on the Greek islands and put refugees at risk by forcing them to stay in Turkey.”
“The EU-Turkey deal has been an abject failure. The EU and its member states have failed to take responsibility for people seeking safety in Europe. They have failed to respect the rights of refugees and migrants and failed to provide alternative safe passage to Europe for people seeking protection,” said Eve Geddie, director of Amnesty International’s EU office.