Late last month, Norwegian PM Erna Solberg proclaimed that if she became convinced that Sweden’s refugee crisis was set to spiral out of control or “break down” (as she called it), she may be prepared to close her country’s borders altogether in what would quite possibly amount to a contravention of Norway’s duties under the Geneva Convention and a move that would almost surely trigger a rash of human rights violations.
It underscored how desperate some Europeans had become and indeed, it was just days later when EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos warned that the bloc has just 10 days to implement a plan that will bring about “tangible and clear results on the ground” or else “the whole system will completely collapse.”
The 10-day "countdown" is a reference to the leadup to an EU/Turkey Summit where Erdogan, as usual, stands in the way of progress.
He’s determined to extract money and political concessions from Brussels in exchange for his country’s help in stemming the flow of Asylum Seekers from neighboring Syria. A transcript from a leaked discussion between himself and European Commissioner Jean Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk on 16th November 2015 during the G20 Summit in Antalya suggests that Erdogan told Juncker that Turkey can simply: :put them [the migrants] on buses." That's a rather thinly-veiled threat to simply pass the migrants straight through to the gates (and we mean “gates” both that figuratively and literally at this juncture) of the Balkan rout noth.
The Summit begins on Monday and we don't have much in the way of hope. After all, in order to guard the bloc's external border you need buy in from Erdogan (when he's actually looking for buy out quite literally), and somehow poor Alexis Tsipras is expected to control the bottleneck after having been left for broke by the very same Brussels Eurocrats who now want (no, demand) his help.
As KeepTalkingGreece puts in thousands of refugees and migrants wandering from Athens to Idomeni without knowing where to sleep and what to eat, where to lay their kids and elderly to sleep. What happens when they get to Idomeni, you ask? Well they try to beat down border gates with homemade bettering rams. Like so:
If they can't break through and make a run for it north, the end up simply stranded in Greece.
This has infuriated Athens, who last month recalled their Ambassador to Austria after the country held a series of meetings with Balkan countries without inviting the Greeks.
So don't hold your breath for a solution (or for a harrowing raft ride across the Mediterranean) to the "safe shores" of Europe. The is one crisis that is simply going to fester until it boils over. The Barbarians (and no, not in the pejorative sense, in the classic literary sense) are the gates - and they're coming "home" Frau Merkel, whether you like it or not.
But in any event, below is a draft document obtained by Der Standard.at (Googel translated) which suggests EU officials are now set to mark a turning point: "The Closure of The Balkan Route."
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Thomas Mayer. At the EU summit on Monday the immediate termination of the illegal flow of migrants and by Wave of Greece should be explained to Germany as a top priority of EU policy. This goes forth from one to the STANDARD present draft. Athens must immediately 50,000 places for potential asylum realize Greece gets "any help" the Union. Migrants with no chance of asylum should also be deported immediately to Turkey.
The EU summit with Turkey on Monday in Brussels and subsequent meetings of the 28 heads of state without the Turkish Premier Ahmed Davutoglu is expected to bring a dramatic change in the current policy and in dealing with refugees and migrants. This is at least the result of a yet secret declaration that Saturday evening was coordinated between the government headquarters in the capital cities. In the paper, which is pending before STANDARD, it literally means: "The irregular flow of migrants along the West Balkan route comes to an end this route is closed from now.."
Fine tuning still needed
The final declaration of the EU-28 will be voted on today in Brussels in the group of EU ambassadors still fine. At the core of the decisions will, however, change anything, according to diplomatic sources. Many of the measures that will be implemented immediately after the meeting train to train, based on agreements to be concluded with the Turkish side. Despite the excitement about the actions of the Turkish government against an opposition newspaper on Friday, the storm of the editorial by police, you go in Brussels expect that Davutoglu will appear on Monday and negotiated in recent days Agreements are then confirmed.
Repatriation agreements planned with Turkey
Nuclear case will be that Turkey immediately constructively participates in controlling the EU's external borders in the Aegean and those migrants who can not hope to seek asylum in Europe, will resume in the course of recycling. The plan is a private repatriation EU-Turkey agreement, which should be in force from 1 June. Before that you will operate on the basis of the bilateral agreement of Greece. As reported, also the EU-Turkey action plan be promoted. The EU member states undertake the special summit to the Resettlement - to start - the direct settlement of Syrian refugees from Turkey in EU countries.
With regard to the measures in the area of ??Union, in forceful language describes the explanation of the Government a package of measures to be set in the coming weeks. To the consequences of closing the Balkan route, catch the jam thousands incoming refugees, the EU agreed to "do the maximum to assist Greece in this difficult moment." If it were "a collective responsibility of the community, which requires fast and efficient mobilization of all available resources", but "also the contributions of the Member States".
A billion for refugee assistance
The Arenberg by the European Commission last week "emergency plan" for humanitarian aid is unconditional support of the government. For 700 million euros have been earmarked, 300 million in 2016. The Council of Ministers should decide the plan before the next EU summit on March 18 and take shape, according to the statement. Together with all previously agreed measures so could be invested in aid to refugees in the coming months about one billion euros from the EU.
The second major issue is security. The EU will send over their border protection agency Frontex once more officials to Greece, which will be based on the borders with Macedonia and Albania. They should also ensure that the reception centers (hotspots) function in Greece, where the refugees are first recorded and prepared for the allocation of EU countries where they are to get proper asylum procedure. Until later than 1 April, the EU countries should make more, going beyond existing commitments officials for Frontex available. Europol is to strengthen the fight against smuggling. In March summit in ten days, the progress will be evaluated.
divide refugees in EU countries
Until then, the Government hope under its declaration to the fact that the hitherto has come in transition "Distribution Program" of refugees operates in the Member States. It is apparently planned with regard to states not in Eastern Europe, that not all countries have the same time by starting with the "relocation". For in the secret document is also talk that some states are encouraged to voluntarily offer higher rates of refugees as provided. In any case, the burden on Greece would be alleviated if more immigrants coming into the country.
Finally, the EU summit will ensure that by the end to "a Back to Schengen" is coming. Until then, no later than intended in accordance with the recent proposals of the European Commission which checks at internal borders, as they are currently conducted in eight states, again belonging to the past. (Thomas Mayer from Brussels, 03/05/2016)