What to expect from the EU-Turkey migrant deal

(VOVworld)- On April 4th, Greece began sending the migrants back to Turkey under an agreement reached between the European Union (EU) and Turkey last month aimed at stemming the influx of refugees to Western Europe. Many of the refugees crossed the Aegean Sea, but now concerns are mounting over a new wave of migrants who are crossing Mediterranean Sea to Italy.

What to expect from the EU-Turkey migrant deal  - ảnh 1

The EU and Turkey have agreed that any illegal refugees in Greece after March 20th will be sent back to Turkey. In return, the EU countries will receive an equivalent number of Syrians from Turkey. This means that for every migrant returned to Turkey, another will be resettled in the EU. The agreement aims to close the main route, the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey, by which more than one million migrants reached Europe in 2015.

Ready for resettlement

What to expect from the EU-Turkey migrant deal  - ảnh 2

On April 4th, a plane carrying the first Syrian refugees from Turkey landed at Hanover airport in Germany. Simultaneously, Greece sent 2 ships with 200 illegal migrants on board returning to Turkey. So far, about 42 Syrians have been sent to Germany, recognized as legal refugees.

Between April 3rd and 6th 750 refugees will be sent back to Turkey from Greece’s Lesbos island. Meanwhile, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Finland, and Portugal will receive 1,600 migrants each from Turkey. Germany is ready to resettle 13,500 more.

Turkey has begun construction of 2 intake centers for refugees: one is 500 square meters and is located opposite Greece’s Chios island. The other, in Dukili, faces Lesbos island. Both centers are in the coastal province of Izmir. After completing health check-ups and registrations there, refugees will be relocated to refugee camps in Turkey. 

How to reduce migrant pressure?

The effectiveness of this deal is being questioned. Some doubt that Turkey is a safe country for refugees. Others call the deal a blow to human rights because Turkey has been deporting many refugees back to Syria, which is being battered by a civil war. The Greek government saw violent protests even before the EU-Turkey deal took affect. Last weekend, thousands of migrants protested the deportation of refugees back to Turkey and riots occurred at migrant camps in Chios.

Since the deal was struck, the number of refugees reaching Italy’s sea ports via the Mediterranean Sea has doubled the number of people arriving in Greece via the Aegean Sea. The Italian Ministry of Home Affairs estimates that Rome will receive 260 thousand migrants in 2016, 2.5 times as many as last year. In the past 2 weeks, more than 5,000 migrants arrived at Italian ports, mostly from Libya.

Only time will tell whether the recent deal will slow the flow of illegal migration. Certainly, Europe will wait a long time before the migrant crisis is over.