"Wake up, EU-Turkey deal will not save us", Verhofstadt

Date

13 Apr 2016

Sections

Europe's East
Justice & Home Affairs

During today's debate in the European Parliament about the EU-Turkey deal, ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt has urged the European leaders to face reality. The EU-Turkey deal will not save us. Desperate refugees are taking alternative, more dangerous routes. Yesterday alone, more than 2000 refugees had to be rescued in the Mediterrean Sea.

verhofstadt left side 90.jpgVerhofstadt said: "People say this deal works because the influx has diminished. Yes, the numbers coming from Turkey to Greece have gone from 1700 a day to 50. But in the meantime, 2152 people tried to reach the Italian coast. We are pushing refugees to take alternative, more dangerous routes."

Verhofstadt referred to new recent reports by the Dutch national television and NGOs on massive push backs of Syrian refugees: "What does “temporary protection“ mean when multiple reports confirm that Turkey is pushing refugees back into Syria? It is shameful and goes against international law. We must live up to our responsibilities, as outlined in our treaties."

The only way out is to take our own responsibility and to implement a European Coast and Border Guard, a new European Asylum System and a European Blue Card to make legal migration possible. However, EU Member States do not honour their own commitments.

Verhofstadt: "The biggest obstacle we face is that EU Member States still refuse to send the necessary number of people to make the management of our external borders work. Look at the numbers necessary for the management of the difficult Greek border: the Commission has asked for 400 interpreters, only 37 have been sent. 472 Immigration officers are required, 31 have been sent. And only 339 of the 1500 security officers requested have been made available by Member States."

"With this lack of commitment, we will remain in the hands of Erdogan, who is using vulnerable refugees as bargaining chips to get more concessions and decide about our way of life, as he is already doing now by instructing the German government to prosecute a German TV presenter."