Irregular crossings between EU, Turkey greatly lower

Irregular crossings between EU, Turkey greatly lower
# 08 December 2016 23:31 (UTC +04:00)

An EU-Turkey statement Thursday confirmed that the number of irregular crossings of the Aegean remains dramatically lower when compared to the period before a deal was struck between the two entities, APA reports quoting Anadolu.

Arrivals to Turkey have averaged 90 per day since March, compared to 10,000 in a single day in October last year.

On March 18, Turkey and the EU signed a deal to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Within the framework of the deal, 18,000 refugees would be resettled and 54,000 others would be relocated by EU countries, which makes 72,000 in total.

After irregular crossings between Turkey and the EU end or at least is substantially and sustainably reduced, a Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme to which EU member states would contribute on a voluntary basis would be activated, the report said.

The report Thursday, however, reveals that instead of 72,000 refugees, only 2,761 Syrian refugees have been resettled in EU countries and 748 refugees have been sent back to Turkey.

Although daily irregular crossings reduced "substantially and sustainably", the pledged Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme has not been activated yet.

The report also suggested a need to urgently step up the pace of returns to Turkey under the EU-Turkey statement.

Regarding the implementation of the Visa Liberalization Roadmap, the report said there are still seven benchmarks that remain to be met as highlighted in the third report in September.

They include adoption of the measure to prevent corruption foreseen by the Roadmap; revision of legislation and practices on terrorism in line with European standards; alignment of legislation on personal data protection with EU standards and effective judicial cooperation in criminal matters to all EU member sates.