Ciolos: EU should push for no-fly zone in Syria to halt refugee waves

The EU should propose a no-fly zone over Idlib in northwestern Syria at the United Nations level, but member states are still not united over this proposal, Dacian Cioloș, president of the centrist Renew Europe group in the European Parliament told EURACTIV.com in an interview.

He said currently the EU is not “united enough” and that’s why it’s not efficient. “If we don’t have a common picture of the situation then we won’t be able to make the right decision,” he said.

At a meeting in Zagreb on Thursday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also backed the idea.

“For me as High Representative of the EU it is for sure a good initiative […] Some member states have been proposing it; I agree that it should be supported,” he said.

A number of member states including Germany are supportive of the no-fly zone idea. However, it is said that France is still reluctant. In any event, the EU does not have the means to enforce such a measure and it is entirely up to NATO or the UN.

Asked if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan violated the EU-Turkey Statement, he avoided to give a clear answer saying the situation is more complex than it seems.

He said Erdoğan tried to blackmail the EU. “But the EU also made some commitments at that time and we have to see what parts have been implemented. What is clear now is that we should not let Erdogan play these games.”

In addition, he said a renewed migration deal with Ankara won’t solve the problem as in the long run, we will face a similar situation with Turkey. According to Cioloș, an effective and permanent EU migration and asylum pact is absolutely necessary to solve the problem.

Greece: Only 4% from Syria

However, Greece says the situation on the ground is different. In an interview with CNN, Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis said only 4% of people who have crossed the borders since last Friday come from Syria.

“From those who illegally crossed the borders only 4% come from Syria. It’s obvious this has nothing to do with a crisis in Syria. The vast majority comes from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sub-Saharan Africa,” the Greek minister said.

He added that those people speak Turkish fluently which means that they have been in Turkey for a long time. “We are facing an inhumane industrialisation of people for the benefit of geopolitical and diplomatic objectives,” he said.

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