With this amendment, 54,000 places which were foreseen for relocations will now be available for the purpose of resettling Syrians from Turkey to the EU.

EUUnder the agreement which was inked during an EU-Turkey summit last Friday, the EU committed to resettle one Syrian from Turkey for every Syrian readmitted by Turkey after arriving irregularly on the Greek islands.

This 1:1 scheme aims to quickly replace irregular flows of migrants travelling in dangerous conditions across the Aegean by an orderly and legal resettlement process.

In order for the scheme to function, the EU countries must make a sufficient number of resettlement places available, within the framework of their existing commitments.

Monday’s proposal complements the existing EU resettlement scheme for 22,504 people which was agreed in July 2015, of which 18,000 places remain available.

Based on previous commitments by member states, with the 54,000 included, up to 72,000 people can be resettled within the EU-Turkey deal.

Under the new deal, the number of resettled Syrians would be deducted from each EU country’s relocation quotas. In other words, the EU countries will be obliged to accept quotas.

EU commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “(EU) Member states now need to honor their commitments and ensure an orderly, well managed and safe arrival and admission to Europe for persons in need of international protection in Turkey.”

According to the new deal, everyone who has arrived on the Greek islands after Sunday, and does not apply for asylum in Greece or is not eligible for international protection, is considered an irregular migrant, and will be sent back.

The returns are to begin on April 4, as would resettlement of Syrian refugees in Europe.

However, the implementation of EU’s relocation and resettlement scheme have a poor track record.

According to the latest report by the EU executive, 937 asylum applicants have been relocated from Greece and Italy as of March 15, with EU leaders at the time setting a 54,000 target by September 2016.

In order to meet the commitments allocated so far under the relocation scheme, a minimum of 5,600 relocations per month should be achieved.

Based on this assessment, the EU needs to complete at least 6,000 relocations before next month.

There are many doubts whether the EU can complete 20,000 relocations by the time of mid-May as it has committed.

Meanwhile, human rights organizations have raised concerns about whether the EU-Turkey plan is legal.

Currently, the EU remains very vague as to returning refugees to Turkey, which is still not recognized as a “safe country” by Greece.

The UNHCR said that the implementation of EU-Turkey deal should respect international standards of protection for asylum seekers. It warned that “Refugees need protection, not rejection”.

Just 24 hours after the EU-Turkey deal went into effect, some 1,662 refugees have already landed on Greece’s Aegean islands, according to official data released by Greece’s Refugees Crisis Management Mechanism.

“The continuing flow raises the question whether all parties intend to meet their commitments under the deal,” the coordinating body’s spokesman Yorgos Kyritsis said.

A total of 50,000 refugees and migrants were stranded in Greece by far, according to the body’s latest figures, following the border closures along the main route through the Balkans in February.

More than 1 million people crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece from Turkey since the start of 2015 and continued their journey to central and northern European countries. Endit

Source; Xinhua


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