The EU is close to a breakthrough deal with Ankara that would see all non-Syrian migrants reaching Greek islands returned to Turkey, marking a crucial step in the bloc’s hardening stance against the flow of people pouring into its territories.
After weeks of diplomatic pressure from Berlin and Brussels, Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish prime minister, privately signalled in negotiations on Thursday that Ankara will accept the systematic returns of non-Syrians and step up action against smugglers.
Two diplomats familiar with the discussion on Thursday said Turkey also agreed to accept all migrants rescued in international waters by a Nato mission — a sensitive issue that had held-up progress on the operation.
It came as Donald Tusk, the European Council president, bluntly warned that the doors of Europe were closing to those not fleeing persecution: “I want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants wherever you are from: do not come to Europe.”
To give weight to such a warning, Europe must kick-start its system of returning migrants with no prospects of securing refugee status. Roughly 2,000 people a day are reaching Greek islands, of which around half are Syrian. Overall, 1.2m migrants reached EU countries last year by sea.
Math for Merkel
- 2,000 refugees reach Greece every day.
- 50% of them are non-Syrian.
- If all the non-Syrians are successfully weeded out, 1,000 refugees a day will arrive in Greece.
- That number will rise with better weather but let’s assume it doesn’t.
- 1,000 * 365 = 365,000 refugees arriving in Greece whose path to the North is blocked.
Those numbers are on the extreme low side as numbers are way higher than 2015. How much higher is in dispute, but here are a few ideas to put things into proper perspective.
- The Independent says the Refugee Arrival Rate so far this year is “more than eight times the rate seen during the same period in 2015.”
- The Guardian says the refugee arrival rate is “triple the rate of arrivals over the first half of 2015”
- In the same article, the Guardian says the “rate of arrivals this year expected to climb further as weather improves.
Meanwhile, the path to the North is blocked because Austria and nine Balkan countries are fed up with the chancellor. For details, please see Austria and Nine Balkan Countries Effectively Tell Merkel Go to Hell.
Merkel desperately needs a math lesson because her half-baked plan cannot possibly work.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock