EU: Turkey to shelter Syrian refugees and turn other immigrants back in return of €3 billion

The EU heads of state or government met with the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (in the middle) in the European Council of 29 November. After the meeting Donald Tusk, President of the European Council (first from left), Davutoglu and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission held a Press conference. (Shoot location: Brussels – Belgium. Shoot date: 29/11/2015. Copyright credit 'The European Union').

The EU heads of state or government met with the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (in the middle) in the European Council of 29 November. After the meeting Donald Tusk, President of the European Council (first from left), Davutoglu and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission held a Press conference. (Shoot location: Brussels – Belgium. Shoot date: 29/11/2015. Copyright credit ‘The European Union’).

A genuine Turkish bazaar took place last Sunday in Brussels during the meeting of the EU heads of state or government with the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The horse-trading was about what it will cost the EU to stem of the flow of immigrants who pass through Turkey on their way to Europe. Finally the price was set at €3 billion, for a round number of two million Syrian refugees to be accommodated or rather held, sheltered and fed in Turkey. However, nobody seemed happy with the outcome of the negotiations.

Davutoglu observed that the €3bn will go to the Syrian refugees not to Turkey and preferred to put the emphasis of the agreement to “a historic re-energizing of the Turkish EU accession talks “. Francois Hollande the French President had a completely different story to tell about the agreement with Turkey. While prematurely leaving the meeting, in relation to the Turkish EU accession talks he said “nothing has changed, there is no reason to accelerate or delay it”.

Hollande focuses on refugees

Hollande also emphasized the obligations of Ankara to close its borders with Syria and contribute to a viable political solution in this country. This was a direct hint that Turkey should stop rejecting the role the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad can play in a post civil war arragnment. Undoubtedly, the French President was adamant that the subject of the EU-Turkey meeting was the refugee problem and its repercussions. Obviously France, especially after the downing of the Russian war airplane by the Turks, doesn’t want to be seen as discussing an upgrade of the EU-Turkish relations. Lately, Moscow is quite choleric about whatever is related to Turkey and Europe knows it has to respect that.

Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, speaking at the Press conference after the meeting, was not as clear as Hollande vis-à-vis Turkey. When summarizing the results of the negotiations, Tusk said “with today’s decision both sides committed to step up the tempo of the accession talks with the view to make progress but the benchmarks and the standards will remain the same”. Understandably, Tusk had to be more placating than Hollande with Turkey, because there were other EU member states, like Britain pressing hard for an acceleration of the Turkish EU accession talks.
Others think differently

It’s interesting though to further analyze what Tusk exactly said and when he said it. His final words at the very end of the Press conference were “…but the benchmarks and the standards will remain the same”. In this way, he reminded Davutoglu that all the Brussels reserves in relation to the Turkish EU accession talks are always there. No need to remind the reader, that Brussels is quite irritated with the downing of the Russian plane and the latest arrests of two prominent Turkish journalists. The Europeans clearly detest the overall undemocratic or even autocratic way the country is ruled by President Recep Tayip Erdogan.

Despite being a constitutionally non partisan head of state, Erdogan regularly oversteps his lawful role and actually rules the country as a party leader, which he is not any more. His war against the Kurds and his strategy to silence all vocal opposition, using the country’s police and judiciary structures quite arbitrarily, makes him an awkward interlocutor to Europe. That’s why the EU leaders, probably at the exception of the British premier David Cameron, do not want to be seen as yielding to his demands.

A difficult equation

Given all that Tusk had a very difficult task in conciliating the diverging European positions vis-à-vis Turkey. He knew that Brussels needs Turkey to stop the immigrant flows before crossing the borders of Europe. That’s why he emphasized that “Our agreement sets out a clear plan for the timely re-establishment of order at our shared frontier”. In short, Tusk asked Turkey to stop directing the refugee flows to the Greek borders in the Aegean islands and added that Europe is ready to pay €3bn for that.

It remains to be seen if Turkey will deliver her part of the deal and arrest the flow of refugees and immigrants coming through its Syrian borders, keep those who finally reach her soil there, and prevent them from travelling to Europe. The €3bn is meant to cover the cost of offering shelter to Syrian refugees and turn the other immigrants back. For most of the EU countries this is the meaning of EU-Turkey agreement signed last Sunday. Tusk had an obligation, mainly towards France, to also confirm that and to this effect he noted that the meeting was about creating in Turkey “a new Syrian Refugee Facility of €3 billion” and “stem the migration flow that is coming to the EU via Turkey”.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

FROM THE FIELD: India’s plastic waste revolution

Integration of migrants: Commission launches a public consultation and call for an expert group on the views of migrants

Human rights: breaches in Russia, the Rakhine State and Bahrain

How upskilling could help cities rebuild after Coronavirus

EntEx Organises 5 Summer Schools for Young Entrepreneurs across Europe in June/July 2014

The female struggle in the face of medical devaluation

‘The welfare of the Libyan people’ the UN’s sole agenda for the country, says Guterres in Tripoli

Dare to be vulnerable, and three other lessons in leadership

How businesses can create an ethical culture in the age of tech

The challenge to be a good healthcare professional

Act now to prevent Desert Locust catastrophe in Horn of Africa: UN agencies

The most unlikely innovators are changing ICT for development – it’s time we took notice

What is environmental racism?

Climate change: cutting the good by the root?

Guterres condemns killing of Bangladeshi peacekeeper in South Sudan, during armed attack on UN convoy

Venezuela’s needs ‘significant and growing’ UN humanitarian chief warns Security Council, as ‘unparalleled’ exodus continues

More than speed: 5G could become the next big economic driver

Asylum: more solidarity among EU member states and funds for frontline countries

European Commission requests that Italy presents a revised draft budgetary plan for 2019

Greener tourism: Greater collaboration needed to tackle rising emissions

Juncker’s Investment Plan in desperate need for trust and funds from public and private investors

Europe, US and Russia haggle over Ukraine’s convulsing body; Russians and Americans press on for an all out civil war

The “Colombo Declaration” adopted at the World Conference on Youth 2014

IMF: World cup and productivity

Cameron postpones speech in Holland

‘Great cause of concern’ UN chief tells Security Council, surveying ‘bleak’ state of civilian protection

1.1 billion people still lack electricity. This could be the solution

5 leadership lessons I learned from doing my own ‘undercover boss’

If we want to solve climate change, water governance is our blueprint

The World Health Organization has called on countries to ‘test, test, test’ for coronavirus – this is why

EU budget: Commission helps prepare new Cohesion programmes with Regional Competitiveness Index and Eurobarometer

Catalonia secessionist leader takes Flemish ‘cover’; Spain risks more jingoist violence

Marriage equality boosted employment of both partners in US gay and lesbian couples

Europe had a record year for Measles – and it’s partly down to anti-vaccine campaigners

From Policy to Reality: Discrepancies in Universal Health Care Systems across the EU

AI looks set to disrupt the established world order. Here’s how

Early healthcare investment is our best chance at healthy ageing

The EU sides with China against the US; but has Germany capitulated to America?

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day

Educate children in their mother tongue, urges UN rights expert

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

GDPR and the World Cup have these 4 things in common

Your chocolate can help save the planet. Here’s how

ECB embarks on the risky trip to Eurozone banking universe

New rules to help consumers join forces to seek compensation

Thinking like Leonardo da Vinci will help children tackle climate change

Parliament approves EU rules requiring life-saving technologies in vehicles

World Bank downgrades global growth forecasts, poorest countries hardest hit

What we need is more (and better) multilateralism, not less

International Women’s Day 2019: more equality, but change is too slow

How to fix our planet: the pioneers fighting to bring nature back

How China Mended My Heart

Children are forgetting the names for plants and animals

Labels for tyres: deal for greener and safer road transport

Commission presents its response to Antisemitism and a survey showing Antisemitism is on the rise in the EU

The Ecofin deceives the SMEs with the EIB €10bn capital increase

Consumers suffer three defeats

Sexual exploitation and abuse: latest UN quarterly update

The economic effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus around the world

New VAT rules in the EU: how a digital sea could have become an ocean

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s