Turkey-EU strike deal to for migrant, refugee crisis; FYR of Macedonia closes borders, March 5 to March 11

(Deutsche Welle)

(Deutsche Welle)

Headlines from Greece, Europe and Turkey for the week, March 5 to March 11.

GREECE

Greece-FYROM border at Idomeni closed for a third day with 13,000 refugees waiting in camps (Athens News Agency, March 9)

Far-right Golden Dawn party member ejected from European Parliament for calling Turkish people “Barbarians” and “dirty.” (Athens News Agency, March 9)

Greek debt agreement possible by May 1, said EU Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici. (EKathimerini, March 9)

Migration agreement with Turkey protested in Greece and led by former ministers. (EKathimerini, March 9)

EUROPE

FYR of Macedonia officially closes borders to migrants and refugees, joining other Balkan countries who made the same decision earlier this month. (Deutsche Welle, March 9)

Refugee deal with Turkey explained: The Guardian’s migration correspondent breaks down the deal the European Union struck with Turkey on how to handle to influx of migrants and refugees. (The Guardian, March 8)

EU Parliament slammed Turkey migration agreement as “inhumane,” “highly problematic” and not “legal or practical.” MEPs said, “This agreement cannot be a form of horse-trading in the skins of refugees,” “You don’t trade in people or fundamental rights. What a shabby image we are giving off as the EU.” (Deutsche Welle, March 9)

Greek unemployment rate fell to 24% in December 2015, from 25.9% in December 2014. (Athens News Agency, March 10)

TURKEY

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg met with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Monday to discuss the migrant and refugee crisis, where Stoltenberg affirmed NATO’s presence in the Aegean: NATO ships are not in the Aegean Sea to stop or push back boats with migrants and refugees. NATO ships are there to help Turkish and Greek authorities and Frontex in their efforts to cut the lines of human trafficking and criminal efforts.” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on the NATO operations in the Aegean. Stoltenberg said, “we have now moved into Greek and Turkish territorial waters and we have started to focus on the area around the Greek island of Lesbos. We are planning to move further south in the coming days and weeks.”

Turkey’s migrant readmission deal with EU does not apply to refugees on Greece’s islands, according to Turkish EU Minister Volkan Bozkir. (Hurriyet Daily News, March 10)

Over 250 Kurdish PKK militants killed in Turkish army’s operations in southeastern town of Sur, according to army. (Hurriyet Daily News, March 10)

OPINION

“Europe can’t build a wall to keep out Syrian refugees. But on Tuesday European Union leaders did the next best thing from their perspective, announcing an agreement with Turkey to repel and return all those trying to come illegally into Greece by boat from Turkey,” said Noah Feldman, professor of constitutional and international law at Harvard University. (BloombergView, March 8)

 

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