Saturday, January 9, 2016

"EU’s Turkey Deal Isn’t Stopping Refugee Flow"

Chancellor Merkel got played.
Erdoğan said €3 billion and accelerated accession to the EU, as the opening bid.
Now that he has the cards and knows he's playing against amateurs, you have to wonder what the rebid is going to be.

From The American Interest:
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has been tracking refugee flows into Europe on a weekly basis, reported that while numbers were down from those measured in November and early December, at more than 3,000 a day this week, they were still overwhelming EU and Greek authorities. Reuterreports that, in the wake of these numbers, the EU is looking for Turkey to do more to reduce the flows. European leaders believed that, under the terms of the deal the EU signed with Turkey in November, Ankara was supposed to have helped stem the flow of refugees in exchange for a pledged €3 billion in aid. However, as we noted at the time:
Unfortunately, however, the chances are high that the agreement will not succeed in stopping the flow. Turkey has never been entirely in control of its southern border, where Kurdish militants have been active for many years. If the U.S. cannot control the Rio Grande, Turkey will have even greater difficulty with the wild and unsettled border it shares with Syria and Iraq.
Now, the Reuters report seems to show that, indeed, the deal has not so far worked as envisioned:
Frans Timmermans, the deputy head of the executive European Commission, told a news conference on Thursday that data showed arrivals in Greece in recent weeks had shown little change since the EU pledged cash and other concessions to Turkey on Nov. 29 in return for Turkish help in curbing irregular immigration.
“Over the last couple of weeks, the figures have remained relatively high, so there is still a lot of work to do there,” Timmermans said in Amsterdam, noting that he would travel to Turkey for talks on Monday to address a crisis that has divided EU governments and bolstered anti-EU nationalists […]“We have seen the first results which are encouraging but we are a long way from being satisfied.”
When Timmermans gets to Ankara, he’s likely to find that the Turks have a different understanding of the deal: The €3 billion was meant to help Ankara handle the refugees they already have, officials have said. Meanwhile, with the agreement, the Europeans gave a major boost in legitimacy to President Erdogan during a year in which the Turkish ruler had become more and more openly authoritarian....MORE