Europe Migrants and Turkey

EU Report Says Turkey Deal Does Little to Cut Migrant Flow

EU Report Says Turkey Deal Does Little to Cut Migrant Flow
Thu Dec 17, 2015 20:13:45

A much touted EU-Turkey deal to curb migration has done little to slow the number of people fleeing war and poverty across the Mediterranean to Europe, according to a report released Thursday ahead of an EU summit.

Around 4,000 people have been landing daily this month in Greece from Turkey, the main Launchpad for migrant crossings to Europe, according to a report from Luxembourg, which currently holds the EU's presidency.

That marks only “a slight reduction” compared to November, when 5,000-6,000 people were arriving, the report said, adding it was not clear that the decline was related to the November 29 deal struck by Brussels with Ankara to try curb the migrant flow.

“This decrease may ... be attributed to other factors,” said the report seen by AFP.

The report is the first attempt by the EU to evaluate the effectiveness of its strategy to try reduce migration by getting Turkey to tighten its borders in return for aid and other sweeteners.

It also highlighted shortcomings in other areas, including the fact that only two out of 11 planned “hotspots” in Italy and Greece for the processing of migrants were operational, one on the Italian island of Lampedusa and the other on the Greek island of Lesbos.

Progress implementing a plan to share out 160,000 migrants among EU member states was also painfully slow, the report said, noting that only around 200 refugees had been relocated from Greece and Italy to other countries.

Nearly one million refugees and migrants, most fleeing the Syrian war, have arrived in Europe this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Germany, the top destination for migrants, said earlier this month that the numbers of asylum-seekers entering its territory had declined due to harsher weather in the Mediterranean.

But thousands have also found themselves blocked at Greece’s border with its northern neighbor Macedonia, which has built a barrier along the frontier to try control the flow of migrants, restricting entry exclusively to refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan; AFP reported.


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