World View: EU Desperation Continues on Second Day of EU-Turkey Refugee Deal

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This morning’s key headlines from

  • EU desperation continues on second day of EU-Turkey refugee deal
  • Humanitarian agencies condemn the EU-Turkey refugee deal

EU desperation continues on second day of EU-Turkey refugee deal

Moria refugee camp on Greek island of Lesbos (AFP)
Moria refugee camp on Greek island of Lesbos (AFP)

The EU-Turkey refugee deal took effect on Sunday, and so far the outcome has been chaotic. ( “19-Mar-16 World View — Desperate European Union leaders sign refugee agreement with Turkey”)

Since the agreement took effect, over 3,000 new migrants have crossed the Aegean Sea and reached Greece’s islands. According to the terms of the deal, each of them must be processed individually. Each must be given an individual hearing before a magistrate in order to determine whether he’s eligible for asylum. The asylum process will require interviews with each refugee and inspection of documents. Each refugee will be photographed and fingerprinted. If he is refused asylum, then he will be able to appeal. If he loses the appeal, then he will be sent back to Turkey, and in return, Europe will select, accept and resettle one refugee from Turkey’s Syrian refugee camps, up to a maximum of 72,000, a quota that will be exhausted by June.

The European leaders hope that when Syrian refugees in Turkey hear about the EU-Turkey deal, then they will give up and stop trying to reach Europe. However, as spring approaches and the weather warms, the flow of migrants may not decrease substantially, and may increase.

In order to process all the refugees that arrive on the islands, starting on Sunday, it is estimated that Greece will need 4,000 workers for the asylum process, the appeals process, and the return process, as well as for security and transportation. The asylum process alone will require 200 caseworkers and 400 language interpreters for refugees who cannot speak Greek and who have documents in other languages.

So the EU and Turkey are scrambling to find those 4,000 workers from Greece and other countries as quickly as possible. In the meantime, Greece is rapidly building new refugee camps such as the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos pictured above.

From Greece’s point of view, the other European countries are forcing Greece to handle the refugee crisis alone, without providing help, as Austria and the Balkan countries have closed their borders. There are 50,000 refugees stranded in Greece, with some 12,000 still camped out in the filthy camp Idomeni on Greece’s closed border with Macedonia.

The economic cost of the refugee crisis to Greece last year was over $675 million, and the time is approaching for a new round of the bailout crisis. Greece has to pay 3.8 billion euros in debt servicing between March and June. Even if Greece scrapes up the money to pay that, there is another 2.8 billion euro payment due in July, and there is no way the Greek government can make that payment without more bailout money. Greece’s lenders are demanding a reduction in pension payments, but now Greece has a powerful negotiating tool: Give us the bailout money, or stop processing refugees. Kathimerini and International Business Times and ABC News

Humanitarian agencies condemn the EU-Turkey refugee deal

“Life or death, whatever it is, I’m going to go,” says Huseyin, a 24-year-old former teacher in Turkey. He has paid a middleman $1,000 to get to Europe, and he is waiting for a call from a smuggler. His objective is to join family members in Spain. “If I have to swim, I’ll swim,” he said. “What do I have to lose?”

The media are full of stories of refugees who have staked their lives on reaching Europe, often to reach family members, and they consider being sent back to Turkey the equivalent of a death sentence.

According the UNHCR, the EU and Greek authorities are rushing into the agreement too quickly. “The Greek state lacks the necessary capacity to assess large numbers of asylum claims and needs to be reinforced.”

Already there are reports that Turkish police and coast guard members are becoming increasingly violent with refugees that are trying to cross the Aegean Sea to reach Greece. Some refugees claim that Turkey returning them to Syria, rather than keeping them in refugee camps in Turkey.

Amnesty International has condemned the EU-Turkey deal, saying that it violates both EU human rights legislation and international laws. Last month, Amnesty International released a report that said Turkish security forces had shot and wounded civilians. The report said those injured included children, who were trying to flee Syria by entering Turkey.

However, the EU says that it’s fully complying with international laws. “The return of those who do not have the right to international protection will proceed in full compliance with EU and international law.”

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this has been a mass migration of historic proportions that can be neither caused nor prevented nor predicted by politicians, and it still has a long way to go. Kathimerini and Bloomberg and VOA

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, European Union, Turkey, Greece, Syria, Idomeni, Lesbos, Moria, Amnesty International
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