Will Europe be able to deal with the migration crisis alone if Turkey quits the pact?

Handshake between Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on the right, and Dimitris Avramopoulos Location: Ankara – Turkey. Date: 04/04/2016. Source: EC - Audiovisual Service. © European Union, 2016. Photo: Adem Altan

Handshake between Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on the right, and Dimitris Avramopoulos
Location: Ankara – Turkey. Date: 04/04/2016.
Source: EC – Audiovisual Service.
© European Union, 2016. Photo: Adem Altan

The European Union keeps on focusing on the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement on the migration crisis despite being threatened by Turkey that the latter will step off the deal if the EU will not keep its last March’s promises.

The European Commission is determined not to let Turkey leave so easily and aims at financially supporting refugees in Turkey through the Facility for Refugees which was set up with a total budget of 3 billion euros for 2016-2017.

However, Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned last week that Europe has failed to comply with its commitments on financial support and visa requirements.

Turkey puts extra pressure on visa deliberations

After the recent failed coup attempt in Turkey, the current situation is changing rapidly. Turkey is now blackmailing Europe that will leave the refugees deal if the EU will not grant visa-free travel to its citizens. More in detail, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu mentioned to the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung  (FAZ) that “if the EU did not grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens, then it would abandon the March 18 Turkey-EU migrant deal.”

Hence, it is more than clear now that the Turkish government wants to gain as much as possible by threatening Europe with the millions of refugees who currently live in Turkey and are desperately looking for a way to travel to Europe.

A successful deal despite the threats

The EU bloc states through its officials that is not going to be blackmailed by Turkey and its president. More specifically, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the Rheinische Post newspaper that “it is absurd” to say that Turkey could blackmail the EU over the immigration agreement. Furthermore, the German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel mentioned last Monday that “Germany or Europe must in no way let themselves be blackmailed by Turkey over the migrants’ pact”.

On the contrary, the Brussels is trying hard to uphold its side of the migration deal keeping the influx of refugees at low levels and control this long-lasting issue. Commission’s spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told reporters in Brussels yesterday: “The commission has a Plan A and that is to make the EU-Turkey deal work successfully. It is not a plan that we have been pursuing just since yesterday. We have had a comprehensive European agenda for migration since 2015 and we spent the last 15 months on delivering on this agenda. This is our plan and we will continue to deliver and work on that in order to address the refugee crisis and assist the countries under pressure.”

Europe’s financial support to migrants in Turkey

The EU is doing its part to the migration agreement disbursing 1.4 billion euros in support of refugees who fled from the war in Syria to Turkey and to assist their host communities. The adoption of such a Special Measure will support refugees in Turkey in the areas of education, health, municipal and social infrastructure, and socio-economic support.

Thus, the EU is determined to maintain its commitments to the migration pact contributing greatly to the implementation of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey bringing the total amount mobilised to more than 2 billion euros.

Europe faces great risk if the deal is off

Despite the fact that Europe does not seem to be blackmailed by the Turkish threats, it is very likely that the EU-Turkey deal on migration could be canceled. The latter will signal tremendous consequences to Europe which will find itself once more in a dead-end.

The International Organization for Migration has already revealed a climb to the refugees’ numbers since the military coup in Turkey on July 15. It is observed a 111% increase from July 14-20 to July 21-28. Therefore, it is certain that the European officials have understood that there is a great danger in the near future. “The success of the deal is fragile”, as the president of the European Commission stated to an Austrian newspaper last Saturday.

All in all, the migration crisis seems to be suddenly worsening again post the coup era. The need for constructive monitoring of the developments is essential and the EU officials and leaders have better already start thinking of ways on how to face the additional thousands of migrants fleeing to Europe in case the migration pact with Turkey breaks.

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Comments

  1. Lobby Ludd says:

    As the EU is the biggest contributor to Turkeys economy. Plus Ford, Hyundai etc all have EU subsidised plants in Turkey.
    If Erdogen won’t play ball, just stop trade and handouts and see how long Erdogen remains in Power

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