EurActiv.com

EU news and policy debates across languages

06/12/2016

Austria and Balkan states prepare for collapse of EU-Turkey deal

Justice & Home Affairs

Austria and Balkan states prepare for collapse of EU-Turkey deal

Austrian Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil

[Wikimedia]

Austria said on Monday (7 November) it will meet with its Balkan neighbours to discuss what action they might take if a deal with Turkey aimed at restricting the flow of illegal migrants into the European Union collapses.

Turkey has threatened to walk away from the deal agreed in March if Turks are not granted visa-free travel to the bloc, while a crackdown by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since a failed coup attempt in July has discomfited European leaders.

Erdogan: 'I don't care if they call me dictator'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Europe yesterday (6 November) of abetting terrorism by supporting Kurdish militants and said he did not care if the continent called him a dictator.

EurActiv.com

Alarm over effectiveness of EU-Turkey refugee deal grows in Brussels

Some seven months after the European Union and Turkey struck an agreement to turn back the tide of Syrians fleeing west, very few refugees have been sent back from Greece, and Brussels is losing its patience as overcrowded camps grow violent.

EurActiv.com

“Very significant cracks are apparent in this deal between Europe and Turkey and we simply have to prepare for what will happen if this deal no longer holds,” Austrian Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil told a news conference after a meeting of his counterparts and other defence officials from the region.

Austria, Macedonia, Serbia, and other countries coordinated the imposition in February of border restrictions that largely shut down what was then the main migrant route into Europe, causing a logjam in Greece before the deal with Turkey.

Austria buries hope for EU response to refugee crisis

Tensions reached a boiling point between the European states worst affected by the refugee crisis ahead of a meeting of Balkan states in Vienna today (24 February), as new figures showed no let-up in the influx of asylum seekers.

EurActiv.com

After hundreds of thousands of migrants crossed their territories in a wave of arrivals that began last year, Austria and its allies fear a collapse of the deal with Turkey will lead to another surge, playing into the hands of populist parties.

Turkey agreed in March to stop illegal migrants from crossing into Greece in exchange for financial aid for those in its care, the promise of visa-free travel for its citizens to much of the EU, and accelerated EU membership talks.

Turkey to back out of EU migrant deal if no visa-free travel

Turkey would have to back out of its agreement with the European Union to stem the flow of migrants into the bloc if the EU does not deliver visa-free travel for Turks, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.

EurActiv.com

But there has been deadlock over the plan to grant Turks visa-free access to Europe, with Brussels first wanting Turkey to change its anti-terrorism laws, which it deems too broad.

Erdogan says Turkey will not change its anti-terrorism law

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday (7 May) accused European nations of hypocrisy in pressing his country on terror laws while “sidelining democracy” at home in their own fight against terrorism.

EurActiv.com

Ankara’s possible reintroduction of the death penalty, which Erdoğan has said he would sign if parliament approves it, could further jeopardise the agreement. European countries have also criticised Turkey’s detention last week of leaders of the main pro-Kurdish opposition party.

Erdogan vows to reintroduce death penalty ‘if Turks want’

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday (7 August) hinted at the return of death penalty which he said was a matter of “people’s will”.

EurActiv.com

“It is the unanimous opinion of all those present that all means, all available forces must be combined, that we must prepare ourselves for what will actually happen the next day if this deal between Turkey and the European Union collapses,” Doskozil said, without specifying what measures would be needed.

The meeting of defence officials from 10 countries in central, eastern and southeastern Europe included Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia, all of which lie between Greece and Austria, the main migrant conduit into Germany.

Doskozil said he would seek to arrange a meeting of defence and interior ministers from the same countries in the coming weeks. He said it might be expanded to include Romania and Bulgaria but not Greece, which recalled its ambassador to Austria when it was similarly snubbed in February.

Bulgaria, new end of the road on the migrant trail

Until recently, most migrants entering Bulgaria from Turkey wouldn’t hang around, seeking to continue their journeys towards western Europe. But now they are finding themselves stranded in the EU’s poorest country.

EurActiv.com