Sunday, December 6, 2015


6 December 2015 (Latest update: 20 June 2017)
GERMAN


A Realistic Concept
Without bashing of politicians and agitation against foreigners . . .


1. Assessment of the situation without self-delusion and deceit:
The Dublin Regulation, which was supposed to prevent uncontrolled migration of asylum seekers, is de facto invalid since 2014. And the German government initiated a dynamic that has become almost beyond control. On 25 August 2015, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) announced via Twitter: “#Dublin procedures of Syrian citizens are de facto not pursued any more at this point in time.” On 31 August, Chancellor Angela Merkel issued the promising slogan: “We can do it!From the 4th of September on, she permitted thousands of refugees and migrants who were stranded in Hungary to enter Germany without identity checks . . .*

In doing so, she not only committed her own population but also forced her course of action upon all the other EU citizens (without due consultation). Countless immigrants crossed the borders: entire families, single mothers with their children, unaccompanied minors, political persecutees, traumatised war victims, wrecked rebels, war-worn deserters, pleasure-loving fortune hunters, bloodthirsty terrorists . . . . Many passed themselves off as Syrians. Most came to stay.
And more asylum seekers are coming to Europe every day . . . 

The factual maximum upper limit, however, has been passed long ago. Refugees and migrants are diverting a lot of money and human resources from other pressing priorities. Most of the housing markets, labour markets and social welfare systems are already hopelessly overstrained. The countries are arguing over refugee distribution quotas. The freedom to travel is in question. Many citizens voice vociferous protests. Some even turn violent . . . 

Many migrants fight against their deportation.
And among refugees, disappointment is spreading. The Culture of Welcome has given most of them false promises: fast handling of their applications, family reunion, life outlook . . . 

The public services and civil societies certainly deserve more praise and gratitude for their humanitarian work. But this should not blind us to the reality of the crisis. Europe will still have to deal with the aftermath for quite a while – including conflicts for economic resources and terror.  

The majority of Europeans do not want to take in more immigrants. But in the future, many more will seek their salvation in Europe. And as Nobel Prize winners (2012), we EU citizens have a reputation to loose: Europe as a humanitarian union and stronghold of human rights.

2. Our politicians should do more plain talking; they should plan for the longer term; they should abandon dogmatism and noncommittal fantasy . . .

We desire a benevolent pragmatism that seeks the greatest fortune of the largest number.

Reforms are needed: The EU should stay away from areas where the Member States do it best themselves; all Council decisions should be taken by majority (a qualified majority of 55 % or 72 % of all EU countries) and not unanimously; the fight against youth unemployment should be at the top of the agenda . . . 

New financial resources: effective measures against the waste of taxpayers money and EU funds, consequent fight against tax evasion and avoidance, introduction of an EU-wide financial transactions tax and wealth tax . . . 

3. True solidarity cannot be enforced. The former Eastern bloc countries, especially, cannot be urged to transform themselves into multicultural societies. They have already taken in hundreds of thousands refugees and migrant labourers from the Ukraine. Immigrants from the Middle East and Africa are not welcome there. 

A “fair” distribution of asylum seekers across all countries of the EU would also attract more of them: the more there are distributed the more would come. And most dont want to be distributed anyway - they not only seek refuge but (naturally) also a better economic future in the rich countries.

4. The inadequate funding of WFP and UNHCR was a scandalous injustice and an unforgivable stupidity. How to go on?
On 4 February 2016, the London conference for Supporting Syria and the Region raised more than €9 billion. Consequently, the German government calls for a UN refugee fund to solve problems locally . . . 

Keep in mind: Some of the poorest countries bear the greatest burden when it comes to helping refugees. Lebanon, Jordan, Iran and Pakistan each have over one million refugees (registered and unregistered) within their borders. We “must help before the dam bursts!” (Abdullah II, King of Jordan)

Turkey hosts more immigrants than any other country (about 3 million). The EU should provide more support. But a policy of appeasement with the Turkish government - a policy that establishes more and more dependencies and concessionswould be an epochal mistake. The lifting of visa requirements for all Turkish citizens would certainly lead to more immigration into the EU. And Turkey’s entry to the EU would overstrain both sides by far. The desirable aim is a privileged partnership with this beautiful country at the Bosphorus.

5. Some Greek islands near the Turkish coast are no longer a pleasant living environment for the local population: immigrants cause problems, industry and tourism lie in tatters . . . . And it is very difficult to protect this external border of the EU. The European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) can only perform their tasks as long as Turkey is willing to take the unwanted immigrants back.  

The EU-Turkey deal will contain irregular migration in the Aegean Sea for a while. But it throws up too many legal and practical issues. We need a long-term perspective! And only the Aegean islands offer possibilities for a long-term solution of the crisis on the territory of the EU.

Ergo: an Aegean island should be evacuated.

6. It should be a big island. And naturally, the islanders should be generously compensated and resettled with consideration. Government, parliament and people of Greece should be persuaded with great sensitivity and a lot of money. The agenda could be:
   • A multibillion euro stimulus package
   • Development as welfare state

Asylum seekers will be given legal entry by ferry boats: A ferry service is established between Turkey and the island. This requires a fair agreement with Turkey. And the Geneva Convention shall apply to immigrants, i.e. no entry for suspected terrorists, war criminals, economic migrants and refugees who already found security from persecution in the Middle East (like most war refugees). Entry permits will only be granted to persons who have a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

They will be prevented from the onward journey to the Greek mainland, but their applications will be handled rapidly. Illegal immigrants and rejected asylum seekers will be sent back to Turkey or to the countries of origin. (Readmission agreements in accordance with the Charta of Fundamental Rights are required.)

Accredited asylum seekers will be allowed to settle on the island. They may involve themselves in the development of the infrastructure. They may establish hospitals, playschool, schools and universities, and they may follow a trade or carry on commerce . . . . And it goes without saying that this island is no detention centre. Everybody can anytime abandon their refugee status and leave in an eastward direction. (Sadly, Australia’s Pacific Solution turned into a nightmare and made every “island solution” seem suspicious. And the debates about distribution quotas and upper limits hamper every discussion about a solution.)

Is that realistic?
It is likely that also many Kurds would come . . .

7. Is there a way to a better agreement with Turkey? 
The existing Refugee Deal (signed by the individual EU States, not by the European Council) is no great achievement of foreign policy. And with its increasing authoritarianism, the Turkish government is a heavy burden. Turkey itself – virtual declared as safe third country with the deal – could soon produce many refugees again (like in the 1990ties). Next to Kurds and other minorities, also oppositional ethnic Turks are systematically persecuted and antagonised now. Many of them might want to start a new life in Europe. But we Europeans will not want to import the Turkish conflicts. And if there is no “island solution” by then . . .

Theoretically, the EU and Turkey have the legal obligation, even without an agreement, to treat all immigrants in a humanitarian way and inhibit criminal activities like migrant smuggling and human trafficking. The deal of 2016, however, which only gives protection to a group of refugees if another group risked their lives, is not humanitarian. And not only in Turkey, also in wide parts of Europe many immigrants suffer great need.

Practically, it is a permanent crisis that demands more and more acts of solidarity with strangers. But: practically, an unlimited duty does not exist. The limits of obligations are defined by the capability of the helpers. If a county is burdened beyond its capability, it cannot be be obliged to respect a right that provides help to citizens of other countries.

And Turkey is already faced with a mountain of problems. The dimensions are dramatic: The proverbial Anatolian hospitality reaches its limits. Democracy reaches its limits. The government reaches its limits.

National self-preservation is the supreme principle for all countries, and in extreme emergency situations, it allows all governments the implementation of the state of emergency law. But the Turkish government harms its own interests if it goes too far – if it suppresses the people too much with anti-terror laws and puts its relations with foreign powers at risk. 
And the government knows this. It tries to find the right balance. 

The big Community of values - committed to the ideals of Enlightenment - must seek the partnership with this authoritarian country. The EU needs Turkey as partner not only for the solution of the refugee crisis but also for the fight against the IS, for ending the civil war in Syria, for the settlement of the Cyprus question . . . . The EU has close economic relations with Turkey. Many people of Turkish background live in the EU . . .

Conciliation is of great interest to both sides. And the existing agreement should only be a first step to master the immigration disaster. A humane solution must include safe and legal routes into the EU. At least one special zone, managed jointly by Turkey and the EU, should be set up on the Turkish coast.

But how can this be done when the EU also must provide protection for Turks who are being persecuted by the government? 
Answer: This cannot be done.

The Turkish government already requests from some EU countries the extradition of Turkish citizens. At this point in time, there is rather the danger that Turkey withdraws from the existing agreement. And what then? Then, we would have to look for other partners in the Middle East. And we would have a confrontation with Turkey, which no sensible person wants.

With the denunciation of the agreement, however, Turkey would harm itself in many fields. And with repeated threats that are not followed up with action, the government weakens its negotiating position. More far-sightedness and willingness to reform is required. As the basic issue is Turkeys steady integration in the International Community that, according to its Charta, has noble aims: securing world peace, protection of human rights, promotion of international cooperation . . . 

20 April 2017: Protests against referendum result continue in Istanbul eblnews.com

The government in Ankara must listen more to the voices of the people again. And one hears many reasonable things: respect for civil rights, freedom of the press, solid bilateral relationships, reviving tourism, increasing research and development expenditures, high value-added production – lots of good arguments to remain open for money and ideas from East and West. 

The reward for all the hard work would be an agreement between upright-walking human beings. There will be no visa liberalisation. And the negotiations about Turkey’s entry to the EU will be put on ice.** But the dialogue should be continued, of course. What is on offer is more support for Turkey refugee response and a privileged partnership: strong, lasting relations with customs union and free-trade area and with concrete projects for the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises in the health and education sectors. And naturally, there could be a much better common foreign and security policy: a determined fight against terrorism, extremism and organised crime . . . 

8. A realistic concept is one thing. The practical implementation might be something else. 
Only the Aegean islands offer possibilities for a long-term solution of the crisis on the territory of the EU. But there are already tremendous problems. 

Last update 2 March 2017: Since April 2016, a total of 26,940 asylum seekers have arrived in Greece from Turkey and 1,487 have been returned (including 159 Syrians). Overall, there are more than 62,000 refugees and migrants living in Greece now. About 16,000 are living on the islands of Lesbos, Leros, Samos, Kos und Chios. (Source: EU Commission)

5 March 2017: Migration Deal Teeters On Edge Amid Crisis With Europe theglobepost.com 
18 March: EU-Turkey migration deal looks wobbly a year later yahoo.com 

The conditions In the hopelessly overcrowded reception camps are degrading for a long time, and they have already led to heavy riots. The Greek government wants to improve the situation with the building of solid accommodations and alternative quarters – it says. It even has plans to set up an internment camp on a small island in order to place rampaging nomads. But local communities are putting up increasingly harsh resistance against the enlargement of homes for unwanted immigrants. And also on the mainland – where parts of the population dependent on emergency shelters and soup kitchens - societal tensions and political conflicts are building up.

The Greek government itself is putting up resistance against the planned resumption of the Dublin Regulation. Brussels said that beginning with 15 March 2017, asylum seekers should be sent back to the country of first entry to the EU. Recognised refugees should then be distributed to other Member States. But the Greeks cannot rely on the Resettlement Program. Hence, the government tries to build a front with other first receiving countries like Italy, Malta and Bulgaria, in oder to avoid the “new Dublin”.

The poor Greeks become victims of the Arab Spring. And the big Community of values does not know a remedy?

What is actually the reason for this failure of the EU? 
Is it the economic crisis in Greece? Is it the lethargy of bureaucracy? Why is the Greek government not able to do justice to its commitments with the available EU funds? Answer: Since it is not only a matter of money, of course. In March 2016, the EU has promised to send 4,000 experts for asylum procedures to Greece – a few dozen have come. And many Member States dont even want to receive a fraction of the refugee quotas they have promised. One must suspect that without the continuous work of aid organisations, the situation would be much more dramatic for quite some time now.

Thats a dead end where theres no solid roof above your head. We don't even have a functioning asylum system. You better stay away! This is the signal to all protection seekers.

Failure belongs to the deterrence strategy. 
Together with the closing of the Balkan route, this strategy is quite successful. But the question is: For how much longer? As at the same time, the deal with Turkey is threatening to fail. The Turkish government does not cooperate very well. It fulfils its contractual obligation only at a very slow pace. And if it withdraws from the agreement, or if a Turkish Spring beaks out . . .

In general: Only that which is sustainable is truly ethical. 
What a pity for this beautiful concept! It is impossible to imagine where we would be today if we had already discussed it in the year of 2015.

We finally must stop to embarrass ourselves in front of the whole world! 
At least, weve learned a few more things. And perhaps the decision-makers are more open to a solution focused therapy now.

There are good arguments to counter the objection that the evacuation of a big island would be impractical for organisational and humanitarian reasons: Large groups of people have been successfully re-settled in regions where there are large artificial barrier lakes now; many of them were happy to begin a new life. In this sense, the Greeks are remunerated in a princely manner. But many of the prospective immigrants stay away as they cannot get to Central Europe. Thus, the credibility of the European model of society is preserved in the long term.***

Even refugees who already came to Europe then have an alternative, which for many of them should be welcome: They don’t have to integrate themselves in our societies. They can settle down near their homeland, make their claims for family reunification and by and large govern themselves. And the EU will ensure their safety as well as possible.
Syrians who already came to Europe and only enjoy subsidiary protection should be granted refugee status, if they move to the island. Especially the applications for family reunification involving children can then be processed quickly and decided to the best interests of the children. (That alone makes the effort worthwhile. The suspension of family reunification for persons with subsidiary protection status became necessary to restrict immigration. But if we force traumatised children and young people to live separated from their parents for years, we create problems that we have to fear.)

There is, however, a strange phenomenon: even politicians and journalists, who advocate a merciless austerity and/or the distribution of the refugees to all EU countries, are voicing big concerns over the evacuation of an island. “We cannot demand that from the poor Greeks,” they say. And although they must know that Europe, in the long run, has no other choice but to restrict immigration, they wouldn’t expect the refugees to live on an island.
Beware of a Culture of Hypocrisy! 

A crush of immigrants in Central Europe will not happen again, as long as the Balkan route remains closed. But the borders are not sealed. And on the Aegean islands, the situation could become much more dramatic, if the Refugee deal is off, or if wider conflagrations in Turkey break out. Sooner or later, somebody could give the command to evacuate one of the islands in order to place immigrants. By force . . . . Do we want that?

4 March 2017: One year after Balkan route closed, region is stuck in crisis mode dpa.com 
13 March: Balkan migration route is ‘not closed’ euractiv.com 
What to do with these people? 
Answer: Place them on the island in the Aegean.
(Those who are given asylum may stay.)

Refugee routes: Google

9. On the Western and Central Mediterranean routes, the geosphere does not offer adequate opportunities, but there is another solution: Some African countries receive more economic aid so that they readmit their own nationals and prevent new migration. The EU’s naval mission extends its area of operation in order to save as many lives as possible. And the persons rescued are returned to EU Safe Areas in North Africa where only recognised refugees are granted the right of residence. 

There is no human right to settle in the European Union! Thats the message to the world. And once it is understood that the recue in the Mediterranean does not include a ticket to Europe, the dying in the sea will come to an end. (Smart people have been preaching this for years.)

In March 2016, Italy’s interior minister Angelino Alfano has already warned that the refugee system is at risk to collapse: “Without returns, either you organise real prisons, or it’s obvious that the system will collapse. It doesn’t take a prophet to glimpse the future.” 

3 February 2017: Malta Declaration by the European Council consilium.europa.eu 
27 February: European Parliament President Antonio Tajani calls for EU to open refugee reception centers in Libya politico.eu 
20 March: Mediterranean interior ministers meet to discuss migration flows thelocal.it

Europe cannot absorb the consequences of population pressure in Africa.
Partnerships in the areas of migration with African states can contain irregular migration. But agreements with autocratic racketeers are difficult on both a practical and legal level. And the fight against the causes of flight will take several generations . . . 

10. The EU should contribute much more to the sustainable pacification and development of the Western Balkan countries. There are already retreat areas for Salafists . . . . A multibillion euro stimulus package can offer positive and improved living standards for many people. And in the medium term, this also includes the EU integration of these countries.
In order to combat misuse, legal reform of people’s right to freedom of movement in the EU (free movement of workers and freedom of establishment) will prove inevitable anyway. Those who are insisting on the current regulations are stimulating nationalism and right-wing extremism across the Union. 'Business as usual' is no longer an option, in the wake of the Brexit vote.

11. Will the Schengen area be maintained?
The abolition of border controls between the Member States implicates the commitment to secure the external borders against illegal immigration. Yet, the serious shortcomings in control on external borders have caused a serious threat to public policy and internal security in the Schengen area.

Some countries already keep their borders closed for irregular immigrants. And presumably, also the others will not get along with temporary border controls in the long run. Consistent controls of the internal borders would first and foremost negatively affect the economies whose logistics are based on free border traffic. But all EU citizens have the right to protection from foreign infiltration. And all want security. The state of emergency (like in France after the attacks in Paris) could become the rule. Schengen could break apart because of the flow of immigrants and the threat of terrorism. 

If the EU does not act, it might abolish itself. The British already decided to leave the Union - from now on, its only about containing the damage. 
A simple majority (51,89 %) was allowed to make a decision of such magnitude. The Brits are crazy! And our EU politicians let it happen. (The EU Treaty provides no qualified majority for a vote on the withdrawal from the European Union.)

A reform of the Dublin System is inevitable: The Member States set up the appropriate infrastructure for systematic controls of the internal borders. The European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) secures the external borders even without the approval of the local governments. The EU Commission and the ministries of foreign affairs accelerate negotiations on readmission agreements. A new Return Office coordinates the deportation of unwanted immigrants.

Asylum seekers must apply for asylum in the first EU country they entered. Those who want to apply for asylum in another country do not receive permission to travel (exceptions are based on family law). Those who are not in possession of valid documents must stay at camps in the border region until their identity is clarified. Economic migrants who are undoubtedly recognized as such have no more right to file an action. Persons who are not granted the right of residence in the EU will be returned to the countries of origin or transit countries as soon as possible. 

Hence, the first receiving countries are under the obligation again, but the rest of the big Community should give them much more support. Protection seekers, who made it across the internal frontiers, should be returned not until it is provided that they find a dignified reception. Unaccompanied minors should probably not be returned at all. And exceptions based on family law should be carefully monitored. 

At the same time, all Member States are called upon for consistent deportation of rejected asylum seekers. This can be very complicated as there are many real and fake obstacles. But even deportations of radicals and criminals take too long. Numerous guests with no legal entitlement are a threat to public order an internal security. They must be deported – voluntarily if possible and forcibly if necessary. 

This wont work without changes of the legal basis and without firm political will. Enforcement measures against unwanted immigrants will be inevitable. Many will put up resistance, and some will become radicalised. And there will be bad press and harsh objections and vociferous protests . . .

First immediate measure: Information campaign for return programmes.
Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) even provides migrants and refugees with logistic and financial support in the countries of origin. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is in charge of the implementation, but every EU country could contribute more by making more attractive offers to all immigrants.  
Return programmes in combnation with reintegration measures avoid forced deportations and stimulate the development of the regions of origin!

And of course, misunderstandings must be avoided! 
This reform should not lead to a further re-nationalisation (and weakening of our competitiveness) but to a strong and effective European Union. The Member States should stand together and fly the flag.

12. The expansion of public surveillance measures and a better coordination of the European security services is needed. The misuse of data, however, will not always be prevented, even with independent supervision. And with growing dangers, life in Europe will become more insecure. 

The Islamic State (IS or ISIS) is an apocalyptic cult that is deaf to voices of reason. It has already developed colonies . . . . The world community could be forced into a long war against it. And the war will also come to us – with assaults, bombings, cyber-attacks and – sooner or later – with chemical, radiological and biological warfare. 


There are major tasks ahead of us, from ongoing integrity of the welfare states to rainforests rescue and preservation of biodiversity.

We must not overburden ourselves.
With a continual flow of immigrants, we soon would end up in chaotic circumstances. The Culture of Welcome is therefore followed by the Culture of Deterrence: We have already begun to drive the refugees back . . .

We will witness humanitarian disasters - we should make our choice for a sensible solution in good time!

This concept wants to be discussed, improved, submitted to voting and put into practice.
We do know that everything is easier said than done . . .



* This is often presented as being without any alternative. But a statesman (like Helmut Schmidt) wouldnt have let the immigrants across the borders without identity checks. He would have asked: “What is needed – portable toilets, tents, catering . . .?” But maybe he would have presented a sensible concept for the management of the crisis before. The crisis was already there.

** Just imagine Turkey becomes EU member: the EU’s external frontier would extend all the way to Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the so-called Islamic State. The very thought of it is enough to boost far-right powers across Europe. And in case the British need a reason to vote “out of the EU” . . . (The people have spoken.)
Our negotiators made a fatal mistake in admitting even the possibility of Turkish membership. Certain politicians will still pay greater lip service, and the Turks will press for visa liberalisation. But if it turns out that they demand more than the EU citizens have on offer, there will be trouble . . .

*** Contrary to an event on the scale of a large volcanic eruption, where an island has to be evacuated as fast as possible, this is a matter of well thought out and organised arrangements.  
The basic questions are maybe more problematic: How do we achieve success in the negotiations with the Greek government? How do we get the EU to suspend the austerity policy and establish new contracts? Will one island provide enough space in the long run?
There are also some smaller islands that are privately owned and uninhabited, but we need a long-term solution. Refugees dont want to be detained on small islands. And our Greek friends need a sustainable economic stimulus plan anyway.
However, the situation is very complicated: The creditors permanently pour money into a bottomless pit. Maybe Greece should leave the euro. A devaluation of the currency could lead to boosting growth, competitiveness, employment and social cohesion. But at the same time, this could destabilise the entire eurozone. And who is going to pay off the gigantic mountain of debt?


The EU-Turkey deal will contain irregular migration in the Aegean Sea for a while, but it throws up too many legal and practical issues. In North Africa, already hundreds of thousands Africans are waiting for their chance to cross the Mediterranean. And the various conflicts among peoples could lead to an open clash of civilizations . . . 
Europe needs a long-term perspective and an overall concept for the solution of the crisis! 

The concept is only logical. If we are not willing to take in so many people, we must either mercilessly reject them or offer them decent alternatives.

Short and sweet: The Dublin System is being reformed. In the Aegean, a big island is evacuated in order to place refugees. The other islands are rehabilitated and Greece is transformed into a welfare state. Peace and development is promoted in the Western Balkan countries. EU Safe Areas are established in North Africa. Rejected asylum seekers are deported. 

So this is how upright-walking human beings do it. And presumably, all Member States could agree upon it. “Fortress Europa” becomes a honorary title as both is on offer: protection for the domestic population and asylum for refugees.


P.S. I really created this concept by myself. Theres already talk about global migration flows in The Limits to Growth (1972) of the Club of Rome.... Australias Pacific Solution (2001) didnt appear to be sustainable in the long run. Not until 2011, when the Arab Spring more and more turned into a nightmare, I figured that an Aegean island could become a safe haven for refugees. In the meantime, I learned about two similar concepts: The Refugee Nation of the Californian real estate investor Jason Buzi and The Aylan Island of the Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris. Both are not yet put into practice. And I think that I have to impose myself although the matter is much too big to take responsibility for. 
Anyone who clicks onto the links at the top will see and hear than I actually have other priorities: High Culture . . .  

More honesty is required from politicians and journalists: It is your duty to discuss these problems openly and honestly! And when a sensible solution is presented to you . . .



28 January 2016: The EU has a plan: All asylum seekers en route from Turkey to the Greek territory should be returned to Turkey by ferries. As a quid pro quo, up to 250,000 asylum seekers should be regularly allowed to enter the EU where they will not be distributed on the basis of quotas but received by a Coalition of the Willing.
This would reduce the number of crossings by boat because it is made clear that they do not lead to the desired objective. But with thousands upon thousands of refugees facing a rapidly decreasing number of welcoming states, this is not a sustainable solution.

4 February: London: World leaders pledge billions in aid for Syrians: dw.com 

24 February: Interior ministers and foreign ministers from Austria and the Balkans region meet in Vienna for a conference called Managing Migration Together. Thousands of people are now trapped at borders in the Balkans, and thousands are left stranded in Greece . . . 

25 February: Greece recalls its ambassador to Austria. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras threatens to block all decisions at EU summits if the migrant burden is not fairly shared among member states. The EU interior ministers meeting in Brussels ends as diplomatic mud-slinging.

7/8 March: EU-Turkey summit in Brussels: The European Union and Turkey agree to the broad outlines of a deal that should outsource Europes refugee emergency: All new immigrants arriving in Greece from Turkey would be returned, and in exchange for every returned Syrian, a Syrian already in Turkey would be resettled in the EU. The Turkish government calls for: 1) More money for refugee aid projects in Turkey – at least €6bn over three years, twice the €3bn offered last November. 2) Visa-free travel in the Schengen area for all Turkish citizens from June this year. 3) The re-opening of stalled talks on Turkeys bid for EU membership. 
The details of the agreement would be determined at another summit scheduled for 17/18 March.

The UN Refugee Agency and other humanitarian organizations have already voiced concerns about the “blanket return” of people without clarity on their legal status. As for resettlement, there is major opposition among most EU members. Turkeys request for EU membership and visa-free access for all its citizens to the Schengen area draws a lot of dissent. And we wouldnt be surprised if we see more movement of immigrants on the other Mediterranean routes and alternative routes. 
Summa summarum: This agreement is not well crafted and not good for us. 

9 March: Slovenia announced last night it would limit entry for immigrants from midnight allowing in only those who planned to seek asylum in the country or were coming for humanitarian reasons. Fellow EU member Croatia, which is not part of the Schengen area, said it would refuse transit to most immigrants as of midnight. Serbia said it would close its borders with Macedonia and Bulgaria to all persons without valid documents and proper visas.
More than 14,000 migrants and refugees are now trapped in Idomeni on Greece’s border with Macedonia. Worried over immigrants, Latvia and Estonia have begun construction of fences on the borders with Russia . . . 

17/18 March: EU-Turkey summit in Brussels: The European Union and Turkey seal a controversial agreement to ease the refugee crisis.
The deal throws up too many legal and practical issues to serve as the foundation of the EU’s future policy. europa.eu (19 March)

The plan of action: Anyone making an asylum claim in Greece will be guaranteed a personal interview and the right of appeal. From 4 April, deportations of all irregular migrants to Turkey will begin. For every Syrian being returned to Turkey, another Syrian in Turkey will be given a new home in the EU. When the number exceeds 72,000 (2.67 % of the 2.7 million Syrians now in Turkey), the scheme will be discontinued. Turkey will take any necessary measures to arrest new irregular migration routes, by sea or land, from Turkey to the EU. Once irregular crossings are brought under control, a Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme will be activated. EU Member States are invited to participate in the scheme on a voluntary basis, but Turkey has pledged that all returned people will be treated in accordance with international law, i.e. Turkey is supposed to become Europe’s south-eastern bulwark, a land of despair for millions of uprooted, destitute human beings from the Middle East and Africa. 
How long can this go on?

The EU agrees to grant all Turkish citizens visa-free travel to the Schengen area by June, provided that all requirements were met by the end of April. The Visa Liberalisation Roadmap includes 72 criteria that range from documents security to civil rights.
In practice, it will be almost impossible for Turkey to fulfil all requirements on the shortened timeline. Moreover, most EU governments have serious reservations about visa liberalisation, and the agreement needs approval by the EU Parliament. If visa-free travel was granted to all Turkish citizens, the deal that is intended to reduce immigration would have the opposite effect.

The EU agrees to accelerate talks on Turkey’s entry to the European Union with a new chapter on financial management being opened.
Just imagine Turkey becomes EU member: the EU’s external frontier would extend all the way to Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the so-called Islamic State. The very thought of it is enough to boost far-right powers across Europe. And in case the British need a reason to vote “out of the EU” in June . . . (The people have spoken.)

At the same time, the bottleneck of immigrants in Greece, created by the closing of borders in the Balkans, is developing into a humanitarian disaster. In theory, the people can expect to be relocated to other countries in the EU. But the relocation scheme faces significant logistical, bureaucratic and political obstacles. Fewer than 1,000 refugees out of 160,000 have found new homes so far. And the longer the crisis continues . . . 

The Good News: The Greeks will get a functioning asylum system. About 4,000 experts – judges, case officers, border guards and translators – from other Member States will be sent to the Aegean Islands. “Greece is faced by a herculean task,” they say. Yes, we hope you can do it.

30 March: Representatives of 92 countries meet at the UN refugee conference in Geneva. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says: We are here to address the biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time . . . . This demands an exponential increase in global solidarity.  
The UNHCR aims to re-settle at least 480,000 Syrian refugees over the next three years, but countries had pledged only 179,000 places since 2013. And now, they agreed on the distribution of 185,000 people - 6,000 more.

7 April: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatens to pull out of the migrant deal if the EU falls short on his demands by June dw.com 

Already in November, he threatened to flood Europe with migrants if EU leaders did not offer him a better deal: “We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses.… So how will you deal with refugees if you don’t get a deal? Kill the refugees?” euraktiv.com/I euraktiv.com/II 

12 April: Austria starts building migrant controls on its border with Italy at the Brenner pass. Tighter border controls are likely to take effect by 1 June. Italy reacts with anger. The European Commission is “very concerned”. Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann defends the move as “necessary and just”.

Already on the 12 of March, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told the EUs foreign ministers in a letter: There are more than 450,000 internally displaced persons and refugees in Libya who could be potential candidates for migration to Europe.

“Thousands are arrested for migration-related offences. They face torture and other ill treatment,” the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) reported.

A spokesperson of Médecins Sans Frontières said: “It’s extremely worrying that conversations are still going ahead for the EU to illegally and forcibly push refugees back to Libya . . .”

Since the beginning of this year, more than 20,000 people made the crossing from North Africa to Italy. Yesterday, the Italian coast guard rescued 1,850 migrants in eight separate operations.

Italy’s interior minister Angelino Alfano has already warned that the refugee system is at risk to collapse: “Without returns, either you organise real prisons, or it’s obvious that the system will collapse. It doesn’t take a prophet to glimpse the future.”
 


18/19 April: Foreign Affairs Council - main results: consilium.europa.eu 

19 April: Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to EU: No visa liberalisation for Turks, no refugee deal. themanews.com

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to Turkey: No concessions on visas for Turkey before it delivers. themanews.com

4 May: European Commission opens way for decision by June on visa-free travel for citizens of Turkey europa.eu

Questions & Answers: europa.eu

European Commission accused of blackmail after introducing fines for countries refusing refugees express.co.uk

6 May: President Erdoğan to EU: Were going our way, you go yours. reuters.com

10 May: EU Parliament suspends work on Turkey visa liberalisation euobserver.com 

16/17 May: Major powers fail to agree new date for Syria peace talks reuters.com

20 May: Turkish parliament votes to lift MPs immunity telegraph.co.uk 

21 May: Turkey refuses EU travel to highly skilled Syrian refugees dw.com

23/24 May: Old habits die hard at World Humanitarian Summit dw.com

24 May: Turkey threatens to block EU migration deal without visa-free travel dw.com

Idomeni: Greek riot police move into clear refugee camp theguardian.com

26 May: EU asks for G7s help on refugees euobserver.com

Hungarian police clash with refugees on Serb border euobserver.com

29 May: More than 700 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean this week theguardian.com

2 June: Turkey recalls Germany ambassador after genocide vote abcnews.go.com

4 June: Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz says migrants should be kept on islands, following Australian example yahoo.com

5 June: Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Seraj to EU: Do not send refugees back. sputniknews.com

7 June: Carrot and stick: EU refugee policy in Afrika dw.com

8 June: European parliament condemns Turkey for lifting MPs immunity, but only a few voices are urging a tough response dw.com 

9 June: Germanys speaker of parliament sharply criticized Turkish president dw.com

11 June: After threats, security concerns for German MPs with Turkish roots reuters.com 

14 June: German EU ambassador to Turkey resigns dpa-international.com

17 June: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) rejects EU funding in protest at refugee deal theguardian.com

18 June: UN chief Ban Ki-moon urges international support for Greece over refugees dw.com 

20 June: World Refugee Day: More than 65 million refugees worldwide mattersindia.com 

22 June: EU Commission: European Border and Coast Guard agreed europa.eu At last!

23 June: Erdoğan may call Brexit-style referendum on Turkey’s EU bid politico.eu

23/24 June: Brexit: UK votes to leave EU bbc.com What a pity! 

How did UK end up voting to leave the European Union? theguardian.com

26 June: As three million people sign a petition for a second EU referendum we ask - could it actually happen? telegraph.co.uk

28/29 June: View from Brussels: all friends together - or perhaps not theguardian.com

2 July: Brexit live: thousands 'march for Europe' in post-referendum protest theguardian.com 

11 July: Theresa May says Brexit means Brexit and . . . independent.co.uk

14 July: Theresa Mays cabinet: Whos in and whos out? bbc.com

15/16 July: Timeline: Turkeys attempted coup reuters.com

16 July: Turkey: more than 2,700 judges removed from duty independent.co.uk

18 July: Turkey coup attempt: Police and officials purged bbc.com

19 July: Turkish post-coup purges sweep through education as thousands of teachers lose their jobs euronews.com

20 July: Foreign Affairs Council - main results: consilium.europa.eu

Erdoğan declares three-month state of emergency in Turkey theguardian.com

21 July: Visegrad Group calls for EU reforms in wake of Brexit vote dw.com

40-nation summit plans next moves against Islamic State usatoday.com 

21/23 July: International Mayors Conference in Athens now-conference.org No Plan B.

23 July: Erdoğan closes thausands of private schools, charities and other institutions newsweek.com 

25 July: Turkey detains 42 journalists in crackdown as Europe sounds alarm reuters.com 

27 July: Turkey closes scores of TV stations, newspapers usatoday.com

28 July: Bavaria: German state hit by attacks presents anti-terror concept newindianexpr.com 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel thinks we still can do this.dw.com 

Turkey demands extradition of Gulen followers in Germany dw.com

31 July: Germany: Pro-Erdoğan demonstration in Cologne dailymail.co.uk 

Turkish FM: If theres no visa-free travel, no migrant deal. cleveland19.com 

1 August: EU wont budge on Turkey visa demands euobserver.com 

3 August: Greece asks for EU-Turkey migration deal 'Plan B' euractiv.com

4 August: Austrian chancellor suggests ending EU accession talks with Turkey reuters.com 

Turkish minister says Austrian chancellors comment on EU talks close to far right reuters.com 

Greece says it never asked for a 'Plan B' in EU-Turkey refugee deal euractive.com 

5 August: Report shows rise in Turkish asylum-seekers in Germany dw.com 

6 August: Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz calls EU-Turkey refugee deal a faltering house of cards euronews.com

7 August: Most Germans want to end EU migrant deal with Turkey reuters.com

Millions gather in Istanbul for raucous democracy rally dw.com 

9 August: Putin mends broken relations with Turkeys Erdoğan bbc.com

10 August: Turkey’s NATO membership is not in question politico.eu 

16 August: German govt: Turkey supports terror groups in Middle East politico.eu 

17 August: Turkey lashes out at Germany over allegations it has become Islamist hub af.reuters.com 

Germany tries to downplay Turkey 'Islamization' report dw.com

18 August: German minister says nothing to regret about report alleging Turkey a hub for Islamists reuters.com 

19 August: German interior ministers call for partial burqa ban dw.de 

Turkey: our goal is to join the EU by 2023 dw.com

Jean-Claude Juncker says Turkey not ready for EU membership vidalatinasd.com 

Pressure mounts on Greek refugee camps as more migrants come across the Aegean Sea telegraph.co.uk

21 August: Switzerland could become a new transit country for refugees meganewsweb.com 

23 August: Turkey recalls ambassador from Austria euobserver.com

25 August: Czech Republik rejects Merkels push for refugee quoatas aboutcroatia.net 

26 August: Poland: Orbán slams EUs reaction to crises during Visegrad group meeting with Merkel newsvideo.su 

30 August: Thausands of migrants rescued off Lybia bbc.com 

Migrant arrivals in Greece from Turkey spike again thenationalherald.com

Germany: Thousands of refugees exploited as illegal workers politico.eu 

1 September: Top EU officials visited Turkey to mend relations aboutcroatia.net

3 September: Turkey, EU discuss fragile relations at ministerial meeting foxnews.com

4 September: German interior minster floats idea of returning migrants to Greece dw.com 

5 September: EU migrants crisis: Lorry protests causes Calais disruption bbc.com

7 September: UNICEF report: Nearly 50 million children are refugees or migrants cnn.com

8 September: Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer - a  lost cause dw.com

9 September: EU finance ministers urge Greece to speed up reforms irishtimes.com

Southern European leaders call for action to boost flaggig EU growth euronews.com 

10 September: The refugees stuck in Greeces holiday resorts bbc.com

11 September: Greece demands reperations from Germany for damages during the Second world war visitwinchestervirginia.com 

14 September: Jean-Claude Junker: EU faced with an existential crisis euronews.com 

16 September: Horst Seehofer: We want a solution to the Immigration Problem spiegel.de

EU summit: dark clouds over Bratislava dw.de 

17 September: Italian PM Matteo Renzi slams EU summits conclusions on growth and immigration reuters.com 

19 September: UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants diplomaticintelligence.eu 

German Development Minister Gerd Müller calls for a UN refugee fund bundesregierung.de 

Angela Merkel admits mistakes over asylum seekers after disastrous election theguardian.com 

Thousands of migrants flee burning Greek camp of Moria on Lesbos bbc.com 

20 September: Obama delivers his final speech to the UN cbsnews.com 

UN chief Ban Ki-moon rails against leaders with 'bloody hands' in Syria ctvnews.ca 

22 September: Over 500,000 rejected asylum seekers still live in Germany thelocal.de

Amnesty International urges EU not to close borders to refugees unian.info 

24 September: Migration Summit in Vienna: Is it time for a new agenda? politico.eu 

28 September: EU-Commission reports on progress made under the European Agenda on Migration europa.eu 

2 October: Hungarys refugee referendum not valid after voters stay away theguardian.com 

5 October: EU Afghanistan conference aims to renew aid dw.de 

More than 10,000 refugees rescued in zwo days in Mediterranean theguardian.com 

6 October: EU bolsters border agency to stem migrant flow dw.com 

11 October: Merkel in Africa - stemming the migrant flow euronews.com 

28 October: Thousands of refugees hide from French police as Calais ‘Jungle’ refugee camp is demolished breitbart.com 

3 November: Turkey threatens to cancel EU migration deal dw.com 

4 November: Turkey arrests pro-Kurdish party leaders amid claims of internet shutdown theguardian.com 

6 November: German ministry wants migrants returned to Africa telegraph.co.uk 

8/9 November: Presidential Election Live: Donald Trumps Victory nytimes.com 

10 November: German foreign minister to visit Turkey despite criticism of Ankara trust.org 

14 November: EU criticises Turkey but not ready to halt membership talks reuters.com 

15 November: Obama praises Greece, raps EU austerity on final foreign trip reuters.com 

Germanys foreign minister Steinmeier: Turkeys relations with EU in sorry state handelsblatt.com 

18 November: European leaders hold final meeting with Obama in Berlin euronews.com 

20 November: Fed up with EU, Erdoğan says Turkey could join Shanghai bloc reuters.com 

24 November: EU parliament urges ministers to freeze Turkey accession talks theguardian.com 

25 November: Erdoğan threatens to open Turkeys borders to Europe telegraph.co.uk 

Bulgaria to send rioting migrants to closed camps, plans extraditions reuters.com 

Migrants torch Lesbos camp after two die telegraph.co.uk

8 December: EU Commission: Asylum seekers in Europe will be sent back to Greece starting March 2017 euractiv.com 

13 December: EU statement: No new chapters on Turkey membership talks eblnews.com 

14 December: Mass deportation of rejected Afghan asylum seekers from Germany imminent dw.com 

15 December: Migration, Turkey, Syria war and Brexit dominate EU summit euronews.com 

16 December: Merkel stands by Greece as Tsipras faces German fiscal critics the-journal.com 

21 December: Berlin Christmas market attack blame game begins abc.net.au 

23 December: Berlin attack suspect shot dead by police in Milan euronews.com 

3 January 2017: Migrant crisis will tear EU apart and could destroy it in 2017, says German politician Edmund Stoiber: express.co.uk 

6 January: Allies Chalenge Merkel on Security handelsblatt.com 

10 January: Greece: severe weather places refugees at risk and government under fire theguardian.com

18 January: Germanys 'Marshall Plan' for Africa unveiled dw.com 

20 January: Donald Trump’s inauguration twitter.com/TrumpInaugural 

21 January: Turkish parliament approves presidential system reuters.com 

26 January: Germanys interior minister De Maizière calls for refugees to be held in a "safe place" outside of Europe dw.com 

27 January: President Trump Bars Refugees and Citizens of 7 Muslim Countries nytimes.com

40 Turkish NATO officers seeking asylum in Germany turkishminute.com 

29 January: Federal Judges in Brooklyn Block Parts of Trumps Order on Muslim Immigrantion bloomberg.com 

Protests against Trumps immigration plan rolling in more than 30 cities usatoday.com 

2 February: Donald Trump slams 'dumb' refugee deal with Australia after 'worst' phone call abc.net.au 

Merkel and Erdoğan hold tense meeting in Turkish capital dailymail.co.uk 

Erdoğan tells off Merkel for using phrase 'Islamist terrorism' thelocal.de 

3 February: Kellyanne Conway blames refugees for 'Bowling Green massacre' that never happene theguardian.com 

Malta Declaration by the European Council consilium.europa.eu 

4 February: Federal judge blocks Donald Trumps immigration ban aljazeera.com 

Justice Department to challenge judges halt of travel ban cnn.com 

6 February: Apple, Google, Uber Join Fight Against Trump Travel Ban abcnews.go.com 

7 February: EU faces crisis as IMF warns Greek debts are on ‘explosive’ path telegraph.co.uk 

9 February: Trump loses court battle to reinstate immigration ban news.vice.com 

17 February: Hundreds of migrants cross Spanish border, clash with police dailymail.co.uk 

German journalist Deniz Yücel taken into custody in Turkey dw.com

20 February: Munich security conference focused on Middle East sbs.com.au 

Hundreds of migrants cross fence into Spain again abcnews.go.com 

22 February: Germany passes faster migrant deportation news.com.au 

Amnesty International Report 2016/17 amnesty.org 

27 February: European Parliament President Antonio Tajani calls for EU to open refugee reception centers in Libya politico.eu 

1 March: Turkey "on the road to autocracy," Venice Commission watchdog says dw.com 

European Commission presents White Paper on the future of Europe europa.eu 

2 March: Brussels tells EU states to detain more freely migrants awaiting deportation reuters.com 

3 March: Merkel visits Egypt and Tunisia to talk about migration washingtonpost.com 

Turkish foreign minister accuses Germany of double standards dw.com 

4 March: One year after Balkan route closed, region is stuck in crisis mode dpa.com 

6 March: Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels consilium.europa.eu 

7 March: European Court of Justice rules against 'humanitarian' visas for refugees dw.com 

Hungarian parliament approves law allowing all asylum seekers to be detained ind.co.uk 

8 March: Germany’s Islamist Terrorism Hotline Is Blowing Up With Calls dailycaller.com 

9 March: Merkels EU speech couldnt help but highlight the power of nationalism dw.com 

10 March: EU summit: Brexit casts a long shadow over Europe bbc.dom 

German constitutional rights don’t apply to Turkish politicians: Court indianexpress.com

German Bundesrat says Maghreb states not safe for refugees dw.com
 


Putin and Erdoğan hold a joint press conference after meeting in Moscow sputniknews.com 

UN report details massive human rights violations against Kurds in Turkey aranews.com 

11 March: UN: World facing greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945 bbc.com

Erdoğan calls Dutch government 'Nazis' after Turkish foreign ministers plane prevented from landing in Netherlands theindependent.co.uk 

12 March: Rotterdam: Clashes as Dutch expel minister bbc.com 

13 March: Tensions rising between Turkish, European leaders before elections cnn.com 

Merkel Says the Netherlands Has Her 'Full Support and Solidarity' haaretz.com 

Turkey threatens to 'reconsider' EU migrant deal telegraph.co.uk 

Balkan migration route is ‘not closed’ euractiv.com 

14 March: EU Court rules: Ban on Head Scarves at Work Is Legal nytimes.com 

Turkey targets Dutch with diplomatic sanctions as 'Nazi' row escalates reuters.com 

15. March: Migration Deal Teeters On Edge Amid Crisis With Europe theglobepost.com 

Trump slams federal judges freeze on second travel ban usatoday.com 

16 March: Turkish minister Cavusoglu claims "holy wars will soon begin in Europe" theindependent.co.uk 

17 March: Erdogan accuses EU of 'crusade' against Islam dw.com

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu: Lets send 15,000 migrants a month to Europe to "blow its mind" keeptalkinggreece.com 

18 March: EU-Turkey migration deal looks wobbly a year later yahoo.com 

19 March: Turkey summons German envoy over Kurdish rally in Frankfurt dw.com 

Erdoğan accuses Merkel of using ‘Nazi measures’ timesofisrael.com 

20 March: Merkel says Germany could ban Turkish campaign events capital.co.ke 

Mediterranean interior ministers meet to discuss migration flows thelocal.it 

21 March: No more Turkish rallies in Germany before referendum - organisers dailymail.co.uk 

22. March: Washington: Meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State reuters.com 

23 March: Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzia: "Greece won’t take back refugees from northern Europe" politico.eu 

24 March: 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome europa.eu 

25 March: Cracks on show at EU 'unity' summit in Rome telegraph.co.uk 

Brexit protests: tousands march in London to 'unite for Europe' theguardian.com 

28 March: Turkey 'spied' on pro-Gulen opponents in Germany bbc.com 

Hungary opens shipping container camp for refugees dw.com 

EU commissioner calls on Hungary to comply with asylum rules dailymail.com 

29 March: Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU bbc.com What a pity!! 

31 March: EU sets out 'phased' Brexit strategy bbc.com 

Rex Tillerson renews demand on NATO spending at Brussels meeting upi.com 

5 April: Brussels: International donors pledge $6 billion in Syria aid abcnews.go.com 

11 April: G-7 ministers appeal to Russia on Syria but reject sanctions 680news.com 

16 April: Turkey referendum: Erdoğan wins vote amid dispute over ballots – as it happened theguardian.com

17 April: German MP Norbert Röttgen calls for end of EU talks with Turkey cnn.com 

Five thousand immigrants rescued from Mediterranean in Easter surge express.co.uk 

20 April: Protests against referendum result continue in Istanbul eblnews.com 

28 April: France, Germany want new Turkey ties but dodge EU membership reuters.com 

29 April: EU leaders agree on tough stance at special Brexit summit theguardian.com 

2 May: Erdoğan warns Turkey could 'say goodbye' to EU tribuneindia.com 

7 May: French election results: Emmanuel Macron wins by landslide telegraph.co.uk 

16 May: EU executive to decide on migration penalties in June reuters.com 

Turkey says Germany must choose between Ankara and alleged coup plotters thelocal.de 

19 May: Clashes in Athens & Thessaloniki as parliament votes for austerity enoughisenough

20 May: US and Saudi Arabia sign arms deals worth almost $110bn aljazeera.com 

23 May: No bailout funds for Greece as eurozone finance chiefs fail to agree deal theguardian.com 

25 May: Donald Trump tells Nato allies to pay up at Brussels talks bbc.com

27 May: Disharmony at G7 as Trump plays his own tune inquirer.net 

1 June: Trump on Paris climate accord: 'We're getting out' cnn.com 

5 June: Germany set to quit Turkey's Incirlik airbase amid row bbc.com

13 June: EU to open case against Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic over migration reuters.com

16 June: Reality Check: Have the Greek bailouts worked? bbc.com 

20 June: World Refugee Day: What you should know cnn.com



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