The Aegean Tragedy – Key facts and key steps
24 January 2020
The full version of this paper is available in PDF format.
Priorities this winter:
- end the humanitarian emergency on the islands
- avoid a new humanitarian emergency on the mainland
- reduce the number of people crossing the Balkan route
- ensure that there are no push backs at any border in South East Europe
- reduce the number of people crossing to the Aegean islands, and increase the probability of return to Turkey of those who arrive (currently it is below 1 percent),
- move those now on the islands to the mainland,
- create humane reception conditions on the islands.
- A coalition of EU asylum agencies to cooperate with the Greek Asylum Service to ensure that new claims on the islands are dealt with within weeks.
- Once arrivals are reduced again, restart relocation from Greek mainland to other EU member states, also to reduce pressure on the Balkan route.
- EU to reach understanding with Turkey on Phase II of the EU-Turkey Statement – guarantee another 6 billion Euros for the growing number of Syrian refugees in Turkey in the coming years. Discuss extending the EU-Turkey agreement to the land border.
To achieve these goals, learn from what has worked and what failed since 2016. This WAS achieved already in spring 2016:
- In the first 3 months of 2016, before the EU-Turkey Statement, ~ 150,000 people arrived on the islands.
- In the 3 months after the statement it was fewer than 7,000.
- In the first 3 months of 2017 it was 4,000. Numbers started to rise again from the middle of 2017.