The European Union (EU) is secretly planning to pull the plug on its migrant deal with Turkey amid increasing concern over the country’s commitment to the plan.
German tabloid Bild reports that EU leaders have been working on a “plan B” that does not include Erdogan’s government since the departure last week of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, one of the plan’s biggest backers.
The paper quotes an unnamed EU minister as saying that arrangements could be put in place to keep migrants in Greece, suspend ferry traffic from the islands to the mainland and deport failed asylum seekers straight back to their home countries.
The six billion euros of aid destined for Turkey would then be rerouted to Greece to help them process all of the migrants.
The EU agreed in March to send aid to Turkey, fast track the country’s accession to the union and take thousands of Syrians from camps in the country in exchange for the Turks taking back migrants who have landed in Greece.
The deal has become increasingly shaky, however, with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatening to pull the plug unless his country’s 70 million citizens get visa-free access to the EU.
EU leaders are also increasingly concerned at the growing authoritarianism of the Turkish government. Last week, President Erdogan said the country would not make changes to its controversial terrorism legislation to bring it into line with EU standards.
The European Commission last week gave conditional backing for Turks to get visa-free access as it desperately tried to save the deal, however the plan must still be cleared by all 28 member states and the European Parliament.
Some EU states, especially those in Eastern Europe, have been sceptical of mass immigration and are unlikely to approve of so many more people being given visa-free access to the EU.