Not Bearing Fruit: Turkey Ruins EU’s Plans to Stem Migrant Flow

FILE - In this Sunday, June 14, 2015 file photo, Syrian refugees are helped into Turkey after breaking the border fence and crossing from Syria in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey

The European Union is unhappy with the fact that the Turkish authorities are extremely slow in solving the problem of the refugees’ influx.

 The flow of migrants arriving in the EU in recent weeks has decreased slightly, but this is not due to the actions of Ankara, but because of the bad weather that prevents migrants from leaving, The Financial Times wrote.

The number of refugees arriving in the EU from Turkey has not reduced sufficiently even after Brussels agreed to provide three billion euros to Ankara for the settlement of migrants.

Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s first vice president, said on Thursday that he plans to fly to Turkey this weekend to discuss the issue with Turkish authorities, adding that Ankara had to improve its efforts in order to live up to the terms of November’s agreement on joint plans, The Financial Times reported.

“We are a long way from being satisfied and we will continue our efforts to make sure we deliver the results we agreed with Turkey,” Timmermans added.

Such remarks come amid rising concern in Berlin that its Turkey-focused strategy aimed at halting the influx, which brought more than 1 million refugees to Germany last year, “is not bearing fruit as fast as they would have liked.”Berlin’s plans were reinstated following police reports from the German city of Cologne where men of “north African and Arabic” appearance assaulted dozens of women during the recent New Year’s festivities, The Financial Times wrote.

Ankara has long said that the influx of migrants to the European Union may continue. After the agreement with the EU was signed, Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu said that he can give “no guarantees” and that everything will depend on what is happening in Syria.

Gerald Knaus, head of the European Stability Initiative, said it had been unrealistic to envisage that the agreement would bring down refugee numbers. “It was obvious to everybody three months ago that it wouldn’t work. Both sides are to blame for that, because they didn’t negotiate seriously,” he said.

The only solution, he added, would be if Turkey dedicated itself to taking back refugees who had left the country for Greece and whose asylum applications had been rejected, The Financial Times wrote.

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