by Emília Castro, Researcher at Faculty of Law, Universität Hamburg
The EU-Turkey deal and the migration crisis – or how far refugees are from an equal and dignified treatment
The ever-increasing flow of people around the globe is an unarguable consequence of the globalization process, which we have undergone, mainly as of the twentieth century. However, the world seems to have been drawing its attention to the movement of people around the globe not in the very last century, but mostly in the last two years. The nowadays called “migration crisis” has been showing the international society how difficult it is to struggle against some dire situations some people experience in their home countries.
Mainly because of its strong economy and its tradition of human rights, the European Union has been figuring as the main destination of refugees: more than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015 – and there are no signs these numbers are reducing in 2016.
In March 2016, however, the European Union seemed to have taken a step back on refugees’ Human Rights protection. The EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan was put into practice on March 20th for the sake of managing the refugee crisis. In a nutshell, some of the main aspects of this deal (called by the EU as “principles”) consider[i]:
1) The return of all new irregular migrants and asylum seekers crossing from Turkey into the Greek islands with the costs covered by the European Union;
2) The resettlement of Syrian nationals: for every irregular Syrian returned from the Greek islands and readmitted by Turkey, another regular Syrian will be resettled to the EU Member States directly from Turkey. In order to achieve this goal, EU Member States should make a sufficient number of resettlement places available.
Some principles of this Joint Action Plan draw Turkey and the EU together. In compensation for the return and resettlement scheme – and apart from the obviously needed disbursement of funds under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, which will be sped up – the Commission and Member States are working on advancing the accession negotiations with Turkey. Moreover, by the end of April 2016, the European Commission should make a legislative proposal to lift the visa requirements for Turkish citizens who want to enter the EU territory.