EU to Turkey: No other ties than €3+3bn to upkeep refugees

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission (first from right), Donald Tusk, President of the European Council (second from right), Boyko Borissov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria (second from left) and Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, at the EU-Turkey Leaders events in Varna, Bulgaria. Date: 26/03/2018. © European Union, 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service.

The EU-Turkey Summit in the Black Sea city of Varna last Monday was a chance for the Brussels dignitaries to throw a long list of severe European grievances in the face of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the Commission and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council , went to the Bulgarian tourist resort to tell the TurkishSultan’ to refrain from aggression within and more importantly without his country’s borders.

Their host Boyko Metodiev Borisov, the Bulgarian Prime Minister, acted as a moderator in the heated at times discussions. Bulgarian sources revealed that there were moments of acute tension. The final result is that the EU will continue paying Turkey to upkeep refugees and immigrants on her soil. As things now stand there exist no other ties between the two sides other than this.

Strong words

Undoubtedly, the Varna Summit between the EU leaders and the Turkish President confirmed that the Christian European club has lost faith in Turkey. Juncker and Tusk didn’t chew their words. They told their interlocutor the EU cannot tolerate any more his internal despotism, with the unjustifiable persecution and incarceration of thousands of his political opponents and critical journalists.

The two Europeans were even more pugnacious in reference to the Turkish belligerence in Syria and more so in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea and the Greco-Turkish land borders in Thrace. In short, they told Erdogan he cannot threaten the external borders of the European Union.

Refugees and immigrants

The only issue where a kind of understanding emerged was the refugee problem. Turkey currently hosts a round number of 3 million Syrian refugees and the EU offers the financial means for their upkeep. Brussels is paying Turkey to avoid the summer 2015 events, when Ankara facilitated the passage of hundreds of thousands of refugees – mainly Syrians – from its Aegean coast to the Greek islands and then aspiring to reach Western Europe, mainly Germany. This last country was obliged to accept around one and a half million of immigrants and refugees, gravely distorting even her political structures, emboldening the right wing xenophobic groups.

Tusk said, “On migration and support for refugees, the EU and Turkey remain very close partners. I would like to express our appreciation for the impressive work Turkey has been doing and to sincerely thank Turkey and the Turkish people for hosting more than 3 million Syrian refugees these past years”. It was the turn of Juncker though to attack the Turkish side on their insatiable appetite for more European money, to theoretically sustain the refugees.

Accounting differences

On this subject, Juncker told Erdogan that the money the EU pays is “the tangible result of the European solidarity for the refugees in Turkey and rather not the solidarity of Turkey for the EU”. Juncker went even further and questioned the integrity of the Turkish side in reference to the handling of EU money the country has received. He said “Turks have a habit difficult to understand. The EU has honored its engagement to pay €3 billion in 2016 and 2017. On 14 March 2018 the Commission has also paid the first installment of the second package of another €3bn. Yet the Turks keep insisting that the EU has only handed them €1.8bn. On this point I have to remind them that in the EU we have strict accounting rules. The Turks should count also the €1.2bn paid by Brussels for 72 projects not directly controlled by the Ankara government, but greatly helping the refugees. So, Europe has honored in full its obligation for the first €3bn package for the maintenance of refugees”.

In short, Juncker directly questioned the good faith of the Turkish government. To be reminded, that in the autumn of 2015, Ankara had demanded €3+3bn and Brussels conceded, in order to host the refugees in Turkey. Otherwise, Turkey threatened to continue sending them to the Greek islands by the thousands.

It’s the EU’s external borders

Tusk engaged Erdogan on another and possibly more important issue; Turkey’s belligerent actions in Cyprus, the Aegean Sea and Thrace. In this last case it’s about the arrest and the detention by Turkey of two Greek army officers patrolling the Greco-Turkish borders. The President of the EU Council clarified “Good bilateral relations with EU Member States are also an important commitment within the accession process. We welcome positive progress … but still have serious concerns about inter alia recent Turkish actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea as well as the detention of EU citizens. The European Union stands united behind the Republic of Cyprus regarding its right to explore and exploit its natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone”.

It was also very interesting to watch Tusk, the representative of the 28 EU governments telling Erdogan, “We reconfirm our readiness to keep up the dialogue and consultations and to work together to overcome current difficulties with a view to unleashing the potential of our partnership. I remain fully committed to assisting in this process”. Not a word about Turkey being a candidate country for full EU membership.

Never a full member

For the EU, Turkey is definitely not any more a potential member state and the club plans to offer just a ‘partnership’. Only Erdogan remembered the full membership, by saying “excluding Turkey from EU enlargement would be a big mistake”. It seems the Europeans have quite a different opinion on that.

There is no doubt then, the EU is treating Turkey as an untrustworthy interlocutor, a political autocracy and a dangerous geopolitical factor in the wider region. Yet, Brussels needs Ankara to control the Syrian refugee waves and this is the only bond now connecting Turkey with the EU.

 

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

Brexit: political groups discuss options for an orderly withdrawal

A very good morning in European markets

IMF: How To Deal With Failed Banks

Service and Sacrifice: For Ghana, UN peacekeeping is a ‘noble opportunity to serve humanity’

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into compensation for early closure of lignite-fired power plants in Germany

Rohingya cannot become ‘forgotten victims,’ says UN chief urging world to step up support

‘Nothing left to go back for’: UN News hears extraordinary stories of loss, and survival as Mozambique rebuilds from deadly cyclones

Time to be welcome: Youth work and integration of young refugees

MEPs urge the EU to lead the way to net-zero emissions by 2050

Will AI make the gender gap in the workplace harder to close?

The global issue of migration in 2017

How Pakistan is aiming for a green recovery from the pandemic

NextGenerationEU: European Commission endorses Belgium’s €5.9 billion recovery and resilience plan

In Christchurch, UN chief calls for tolerance, solidarity to extinguish ‘wildfire’ of hate speech

Commission to invest €14.7 billion from Horizon Europe for a healthier, greener and more digital Europe

Medical students: catalysts to close the gender gap

Can autonomous cars make traffic jams a thing of the past?

Russia’s permafrost is melting and it could have a devastating global effect

Why cities hold the key to safe, orderly migration

New UN book club helps children deal with global issues

“China will strive to enhance the performance of economic growth”, President Xi highlights from the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos

Monday’s Daily Brief: US-DPRK relationship reset, ‘Horrific’ Kabul bombing, Anti-conscription plan in Syria, Climate change heat stress, Security Council in Iraq

FROM THE FIELD: Free tutorials in Mali, ‘a life-saver’ for Fatouma

European Commission Joint Research Centre opens world-class laboratories to researchers

The world condemned by neo-liberals to feed trillions to banks: the New Deal exorcised

Mergers: Commission approves the merger of Mylan and Pfizer’s Upjohn division, subject to conditions

What paleoecology can teach us about fires in the Amazon

The link between migration and technology is not what you think

Counterfeiters are taking advantage of the pandemic. Here’s how to stop them

3 reasons why civil society is essential to COVID-19 recovery

Panama’s fight for a delayed right: women’s economic independence

14 innovative projects helping to save the planet and make the world a better place

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

Scale of displacement across Myanmar ‘very difficult to gauge’, says UN refugee agency

FROM THE FIELD: Niger supporting the most vulnerable, as crises mount

6 ways least developed countries can participate in the 4IR

UN chief calls for Security Council to work with Myanmar to end ‘horrendous suffering’ of Rohingya refugees

International partners pledge $1.2 billion to help cyclone-hit Mozambique recover, ‘build back better’

Commission welcomes agreement on the modernisation of EU export controls

One migrant child reported dead or missing every day, UN calls for more protection

Japan’s agro-food sector would benefit greatly from policies to boost innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable resource use

UN chief ‘following very closely’ reports of chemical weapons use in Syria’s Aleppo

High-technology manufacturing saves the EU industry

5 ways to boost sustainable trade in the world’s poorest countries

The West unites against Mali desert rebels

Sweden gives all employees time off to be entrepreneurs

Happens now in Brussels: Green Week sets the EU and global climate policy agenda

5 surprising ways major cities are going green

“ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges”, a Sting Exclusive by China’s Ambassador to the EU

More efforts needed to boost trust in business and finance

The Swiss will pay dearly for voting out fellow Europeans

Recovery effort will fizzle out quickly if there is no long-term perspective

Global hunger is on the rise. These simple steps could help eradicate it

Women that inspire women

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into Broadcom and sends Statement of Objections seeking to impose interim measures in TV and modem chipsets markets

From low-earth orbit, ‘envoys’ of humanity join UN space forum

This surgeon runs a makeshift hospital for over 200,000 people

European Union launches WTO trade dispute against Colombia’s unfair duties on frozen fries

Inside the battle to counteract the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’

Where are the world’s nuclear weapons?

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