Monday 30 November 2015

Turkey to help EU stem migrant crisis for €3bn and membership talks

Sounds to me like bribing a criminal not to commit a crime.

Germany's plan to strike EU-wide refugee-sharing deal stalls
Angela Merkel holds surprise mini-summit in Brussels with nine EU countries after meeting EC resistance to pro-quota pact with Turkey

the Guardian,

29 November, 2015

Months of European efforts to come up with common policies on mass immigration unravelled on Sunday when Germany led a “coalition of the willing” of nine EU countries taking in most refugees from the Middle East, splitting the union formally on the issues of mandatory refugee-sharing and funding.

An unprecedented full EU summit with Turkey agreed a fragile pact aimed at stemming the flow of migrants to Europe via Turkey. But the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, frustrated by the resistance in Europe to her policies, also convened a separate mini-summit with seven other leaders to push a fast-track deal with the Turks and to press ahead with a new policy of taking in and sharing hundreds of thousands of refugees a year directly from Turkey.

The surprise mini-summit suggested that Merkel has given up on trying to persuade her opponents, mostly in eastern Europe, to join a mandatory refugee-sharing scheme across the EU, although she is also expected to use the pro-quotas coalition to pressure the naysayers into joining later.

Merkel’s ally on the new policy, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European commission, said of the mini-summit: “This is a meeting of those states which are prepared to take in large numbers of refugees from Turkey legally.”

But he added later that any such agreement would be voluntary and not binding, while the Dutch rejected German-led calls to resettle large numbers directly from Turkey.

The frictions triggered by the split were instantly apparent. Donald Tusk, the president of the European council who chaired the full summit with Turkey, contradicted the mainly west European emphasis on seeing Ankara as the best hope of slowing the mass migration to Europe.

Let us not be naive. Turkey is not the only key to solving the migration crisis,” said Tusk. “The most important one is our responsibility and duty to protect our external borders. We cannot outsource this obligation to any third country. I will repeat this again: without control on our external borders, Schengen will become history.”

He was referring to the 26-country free-travel zone in Europe, which is also in danger of unravelling under the strains of the migratory pressures and jihadist terrorism.

Juncker said he will come up with a system for redistributing an annual “contingent” of refugees from Turkey among the coalition of the willing countries. Reports in Berlin put the figure at 400,000.

He is expected to leave that until after the looming French regional elections for fear of boosting the chances of the anti-EU, anti-immigrant Front National of Marine Le Pen.

David Cameron said: “This summit matters because we need a comprehensive solution to the migrant crisis in Europe and obviously that involves Turkey.

Britain will continue to play our role, which is about supporting Syrian refugees in the refugee camps and in Turkey.

In terms of the discussions this afternoon, a lot of it will be about the Schengen no borders zone that we’re not a member of. Britain in the European Union will keep our border controls, vital to our security that they are.”

After the summit, Cameron held talks with Tusk on Britain’s renegotiation with the EU. Downing Street said: “They agreed that we continue to make good progress. While some areas are more difficult than others, discussions are ongoing with member states to find solutions and agree reforms in all four areas outlined in the PM’s letter to the European Council president.

These discussions will continue in the coming days, including with bilaterals between the PM and other European leaders in Paris tomorrow, and all EU leaders will have a substantive discussion of the UK renegotiation at next month’s European council as planned.”

From RT

Turkey has signed an agreement with the EU at a summit in Brussels in which the country will help stem the flow of migrants to Europe in return for €3 billion ($3.18bn) of support and the reestablishing of talks on EU accession.

Key points of Turkey-EU refugee deal:

1. The EU agrees to provide "an initial" €3 billion ($3.18bn) over two years for Turkey to better cater for the needs of 2.2 million Syrian refugees in the country.

2. The EU promises to open a new chapter in negotiations regarding Turkey's EU ascension and to bring the country's standards in economic and financial policies up to scratch.

3. The EU pledges to lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens in the Schengen zone by October 2016 once all the requirements set forth in the EU roadmap are met

14,000 Refugees Due For Deportation From Sweden Have Vanished: "We Simply Do Not Know Where They Are"

29 November, 2015\

As part of the just concluded "cash for refugees" deal between the EU Turkey, the FT adds that not only will migrants whose asylum applications are rejected be sent back to Turkey but that this "crackdown on irregular migration would be complemented by a parallel programme offering a legal route to Europe, resettling up to 500,000 Syrian refugees directly from Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan."

The FT adds that, as expected, "if such an EU-wide scheme were made mandatory it would be flatly opposed by many eastern European countries. To avoid the proposals being blocked, Brussels and Berlin are exploring a “voluntary” scheme with 10 countries willing to take refugees. It is unclear whether other Schengen members would be asked to contribute to the costs of resettlement."

But before crossing that particular bridge, which will sow even further anger, mistrust and antagonism spread among the member countries of the European "Union", a bigger question is just how will Europe track down and sequester those refugees that pose the biggest threat in the eyes of authorities, those who are already slated for deportation.

As the following case study from Sweden proves, having once entered Europe, Europe may have problems trying to track down the hundreds of thousands of refugees having already found their way to the continent.

As Sweden's Afton Bladet reports, over half of all the illegal migrants slated for deportation in Sweden have mysteriously disappeared. 

The National Border Police Section reports that of the 21,748 individuals due to be sent home after their asylum applications were turned down, a whopping 14,140 have simply vanished off the police radar. Around a third, or the remaining 7,608, still live and are accounted for in the Swedish Migration Board's premises or have indicated an address for their own homes. It is not clear if anyone has actually tried following up on said home address to see how many have simply made one up.

Based on a translation of the Swedish report by Breitbart, some are expected to have left the country secretly, "but the majority are thought to still be in Sweden, having fallen through the cracks of the comprehensive welfare state."

The local cops is brutally honest: "We simply do not know where they are”, said Patrik Engstrom, a spokesman for the local police.

This is not the first time refugees have vanished from official supervision: one month ago we reported that roughly 4,000 asylum-seekers who had initially been accomodated by the German state of Lower Saxony had "mysteriously disappeared." To our knowledge they have still not been found.

Ever the egalitarian paradise, Sweden was as concerned about labor abuse as the current whereabouts of the refugees, and Afton Bladet noted that a number of unscrupulous employers in the country have taken advantage of the invisible migrants, using them as cheap labour off the books, with no wages tax to pay or minimum wage to heed.

The reported goes on to note that while at the start of 2015 the migration bureau was responsible for deporting migrants who failed to gain a visa, the rising tide of migration created new challenges and the job was transferred to the Police in October. The task of deportations was handed over to police because the migration board considered that as the situation deteriorated, “coercion would be necessary” to get migrants to leave. Yet through a severe lack of manpower, resources, and political mandate to take proper action the police have proven unable to handle the job.

Now, even the police is proving helpless at managing the process: "a police spokesman said they simply did not have enough officers, having been ordered this month to become border police as well, enacting government policy to check passports and papers."

"We have failed because too much of our resources go to reintroduce border controls at internal borders" Patrik Engstrom adds.

Hamstrung by government policy, the border checks have also been a failure, making no significant reduction in the number of migrants crossing into the country daily. Officers were only permitted to make spot checks at the border, and were forbidden to profile individuals on the basis of their ethnicity, language spoken, or skin colour, making effective control impossible.

Finally, even in cases where the police manage to find illegals and send them home, nations such as Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco and Libya don’t accept their own people back in many case.

In other words, Europe has unleashed the refugee genie without much thought for the consequences. And now that the "consequences" have arrived and Europe is scrambling to put the genie back into the bottle, to its amazement it has realized that the genie has mostly vanished.

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