Justice and Home Affairs: Erdogan threatens to send refugees to the EU by plane and bus (EurActiv)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today (11 February) slammed EU and UN pressure to open Turkey’s borders to more refugees, threatening to send the millions already in the country to other states. “We do not have the word ‘idiot’ written on our foreheads. Don’t think that the planes and the buses are there for nothing. We will do the necessary,” Erdoğan told a business forum in Ankara. He also said he had previously told the European Union’s two top officials, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, that the time could come when Turkey would open the gates for migrants to travel to Europe. The statements confirm that the transcript of a conversation during the G20 meeting in Antalya last November, in which Erdoğan was quoted as threatening Europe with migrants, is true […]
Justice and Home Affairs: EU pressures Greece as hotspots are not yet operational (NewEurope)
The European Commission strongly recommended Greece to take urgent measures to improve conditions for asylum seekers upon their arrival in Europe. Athens has one month to react, given that the European Union hopes to send more refugees back to Greece.
For the moment only 1 out of the 5 foreseen Greek hotspots is operational, offering 12,342 reception places instead of the 50,000 places promised last October. Nevertheless, the EU said it hopes registration centres could be running in about 10 days. The EU plans to reintroduce Greece into the ‘Dublin system’, which allows governments send asylum seekers back to the first EU country they arrived in. This procedure was suspended for Greece in 2011 because of the enormous influx of migrants reaching the country […]
Migration: Erdogan to EU: ‘We’re not idiots’, threatens to send refugees (EuObserver)
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against the EU on Thursday (11 February) and threatened to send millions of refugees in Turkey to the bloc’s member states, just as NATO agreed to deploy ships in the Aegean Sea to ease the migrant crisis.
In a speech in Ankara Erdogan confirmed an earlier leaked report in which he made clear to EU leaders late last year that he could open the gates for the estimated 2.7 million refugees to enter Europe. “We do not have the word ‘idiot’ written on our foreheads. We will be patient, but we will do what we have to. Don’t think that the planes and the buses are there for nothing,” Erdogan said in a speech, signalling Turkey was running out of patience […]
Migration: Nato to help Turkey and Greece ‘stem flow’ of refugees (EuObserver)
Nato will “immediately” move three naval ships to the Aegean Sea to help Greek and Turkish coastguards to “stem the flow” of migrants trying to get to Europe.
Nato head Jens Stoltenberg announced the decision in Brussels on Thursday (11 January), saying it was designed to “stem illegal trafficking and illegal migration in the Aegean” […]
Migration: Europe’s watchdog: Migrant crisis threatens Balkan stability (EuObserver)
The migrant crisis risks reigniting old tensions among the Western Balkan nations as EU-led policies fail to stem the flow of migrants, says Europe’s human rights watchdog.
Thorbjorn Jagland, who presides over the Council of Europe, said panic, the lack of a coordinated EU response, and national agendas have led Europe “to a very very dangerous point” […]
Migration: EU parliament calls for solidarity on refugees, more help for Greece (NewEurope)
A warning against trapping thousands of asylum-seekers in Greece has come from Claude Moraes, Civil Liberties Committee Chair in the European Parliament.
“It is important that including Greece in Dublin will not simply be used as a push-back for Member States as this would merely ring-fence Greece from the rest of the EU, trapping thousands of asylum-seekers and increase pressure on a country that is already struggling to respond to migratory flows,” he said. “Solidarity is essential. Member States must play their part in alleviating the pressures faced by Greece’[…]
Migration: No migrant swap deal, says Turkey (EuObserver)
Turkey has rejected a Dutch-led migrant swap deal, as Balkan nations threaten border clampdowns to stem the inflows of people.
The Netherlands, currently chairing the EU presidency, had proposed an annual resettlement of up 250,000 people from Turkey to member states in return for Ankara stopping people from crossing into Greece.
But Turkey’s ambassador to the EU Selim Yenel told the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday (10 February) the proposal would never work.
“Forget it. It’s unacceptable. And it’s not feasible,” he said […]
Global Europe: Major powers agree to plan for ‘cessation of hostilities’ in Syria (EurActiv)
Major powers agreed today (12 February) to a cessation of hostilities in Syria set to begin in a week, and to provide rapid humanitarian access to besieged Syrian towns.
But they failed to secure a complete ceasefire, and end Russia’s bombing campaign, which had been at the top of the gathering’s agenda.
Following a marathon meeting in Munich aimed at resurrecting peace talks that collapsed last week, the powers, including the United States, Russia and more than a dozen other nations, reaffirmed their commitment to a political transition when conditions on the ground improved.At a news conference, US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that the Munich meeting produced commitments on paper only […]
Global Europe: Turkey may intervene in Syria: Erdogan (NewEurope)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country is running out the patience and warned about launching a military operation in Syria. Erdogan also accused the UN of insincerity in asking Turkey to do more to help Syrian refugees, while “Iran-backed forces in Syria were carrying out merciless massacres”.
At a business forum in Ankara on Thursday, Erdogan once again took a tough stance towards the handling of Syrian crisis and repeated said that his country could be forced to take action if the bloodshed did not stop there.
“We will show patience up to a point and then we’ll do what’s necessary. Our buses and planes are not waiting there in vain,” said Erdogan according to Reuters […]
Foreign Affairs: Partial Syria ceasefire agreed at talks in Munich (The Guardian)
A cessation of hostilities is to come into force in Syria within a week and humanitarian aid is to be delivered to besieged areas across the country in the next few days, the US, Russia and other powers said late on Thursday night at talks in Munich. There was no clear commitment to end Russian airstrikes, however.Galvanised by mounting international concern over the war, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said progress had been made towards implementing a nationwide “cessation of hostilities”, although it was not clear how this could happen unless Russia stops bombing civilians and mainstream rebels who are fighting the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. Action against Islamic State would continue […]