Sofia - ESI talks about EU-Turkey refugee statement

22 March 2018
Kristof Bender with moderator Daniel Stefanov of ECFR and Marin Lessenski, programme director of OSI-Sofia. Due to problems at Sofia airport, Asli Aydintasbas had to join the debate via skype. Photo: ECFR
Kristof Bender with moderator Daniel Stefanov of ECFR and Marin Lessenski, programme director of OSI-Sofia. Due to problems at Sofia airport, Asli Aydintasbas had to join the debate via skype. Photo: ECFR

ESI's Kristof Bender spoke at a public debate at the occasion of the presentation of ECFR's "EU-Turkey Power Audit" with Asli Aydintasbas, Senior Policy Fellow at ECFR and Marin Lessenski of OSI-Sofia. 

The EU-Turkey statement sucessfully reduced the number of new arrivals on the Greek islands and of deaths in the Aegean. Kristof explained why the situation remains fragile. Of more than 56,000 new arrivals on Greek islands since March 2016, less than 1,500 had been returned to Turkey by the end of 2017. More than 40,000 had been brought to the Greek mainland, from where most crossed the Balkans to reach Austria and Germany. Thus the basic premise of the EU-Turkey statment is not implemented. To do so would require the establishment of fast, yet fair procedures on the islands and a mechanism to monitor conditions and procedures of all those asylum seekers which are returned to Turkey. 

For more on ESI's analysis and proposals on this see Refugees and asylum in the Aegean. The impact of the EU - Turkey statement.

Photo: ECFR
Photo: ECFR
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