Germany’s CDU Criticizes Greece’s Deportation Rate Under the EU Refugee Deal
Under the refugee agreement between the EU and Turkey from 2016, all refugees who illegally enter Greece have to be returned to Turkey. However, the authorities cannot keep up with the deportations. Merkel’s CDU now accuses Greece of “administrative failure.”
As part of the EU-Turkey deal on ending irregular migration, only 1995 refugees have been deported from Greece to Turkey since 2016, according to a report by the EU Commission. In the same period, 25,660 Syrians have been legally flown from Turkey to the EU, the report also shows.
While the crossings to the Greek islands in 2019 increased significantly according to the EU document with more than 60,100 – around 37,700 were transferred to the mainland – deportations continued to decrease. According to the Commission document, out of a total of those repatriated since 2016, most were flown to Turkey in 2016 (801) and 2017 (683). In 2018 there were only 322 and in 2019 only 189 people.
Chancellor Merkel’s CDU has rebuked Greece’s lack of action.
Mr. Frei, the CDU’s vice-chair of the party’s Bundestag’s fraction and spokesperson for migration issues, said: “The previous year, the number of arrivals in Greece almost doubled compared to 2018 with a little more than 60,000 people.” In the second half of the year, in particular, arrivals had “increased rapidly.” As a result, the Greek islands would be “overrun,” and the situation there could become unsustainable. “The current development unmistakably correlates with the fact that Turkey no longer consistently prevents landings,” Frei continued.
Previously, Germany and the EU had accused Turkey of not adhering to the deal. Turkey, in return, has claimed that the EU has not been paying the monetary support it had pledged.
Nonetheless, Frei also stated that the number of repatriations from Greece to Turkey had been in one direction for years: downwards. It was a development that forced one to speak very frankly of administrative failure. The latter, Frei continued, mainly because of the support and assistance offered by the EU to Greece, was “unacceptable.”
In their refugee deal in 2016, the EU and Turkey had declared that they sought to “end irregular migration from Turkey to Greece.” In its first paragraph, the deal states that “all irregular migrants who have entered Turkey from the Greek islands will be returned to Turkey.” Subsequently, for every deported Syrian from Greece, a Syrian refugee from Turkey should thus be legally flown into the EU. The rule seeks to remove the incentive to transfer to the Greek islands illegally.