Monday, April 04, 2016

STATEMENT: Thom Brooks on return of migrants to Turkey today

A statement by Thom Brooks - Professor of Law and Government at Durham University - on the return of migrants in Greece to Turkey under the terms of the EU-Turkey 'one out, one in' deal:

·         The EU deal with Turkey on migration is already under severe strain.


·         The EU has only half the border guards needed to handle deportations, the Greek government has struggled to identify migrants for deportation because of a lack of translators and both the EU and Greece have been overwhelmed by the hundreds of migrants claiming asylum over the weekend.


·         As the first boat of 200 migrants is returned to Turkey, another 200 Syrian nationals will be sent off to Greece in a one-for-one swap.


·         This is meant to discourage and deter migrants from crossing over into Greece – and so reduce migration into Europe. But it is unclear still whether a one-for-one swap will have that effect. Nor is it clear that if this migration route is tightened, then others will not soon open up as migrants seek entry to the EU.


·         Either way, this issue is certain to remain alive throughout the referendum campaign - deflecting attention away from the PM’s reform plans for the EU.



UPDATE (6 April 2016): The return of migrants from Greece to Turkey is now suspended. Serious questions remain over the safe return of migrants to Turkey and what happens next. The current arrangement is for migrants to be returned to their native countries, but this is difficult, costly and takes time with many of these countries still unsafe.

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