Greece returns economic migrants to Turkey

PANAGIOTIS BALASKAS

Migrants and refugees from Pakistan arrive at the Greek island of Lesvos, Greece, 02 March 2016. The group of 150 migrants from Pakistan are going to be deported to Turkey on Thursday. Migration restrictions along the so-called Balkan route, the main path for migrants and refugees from the Middle East to EU countries, have trapped thousands of migrants in Greece causing a humanitarian crisis.

The sending of irregular migrants back to Turkey, is part of the EU – Turkey readmission agreement signed between the two sides in October 2014


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Greece returned 308 irregular migrants to Turkey on Wednesday, according to a press release by the European Commission.

According to the EU’s executive body, the readmission is taking place only for the migrants who do not qualify for international protection in Europe. European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos praised the readmissions and said:

“Under the EU-Turkey joint action plan we agreed to accelerate return and readmission procedures with Turkey. The European Commission has reinforced its support for cooperation on return between EU Member States and Turkey and today’s transfers of returnees from Greece to Turkey show that our efforts are starting to bear fruit. If we want to address the challenges of the refugee crisis successfully we need to get back to an orderly management of the migration flows: We have to make sure that those who are in need of protection will receive it, but it has to be clear as well that those who have no right to stay in the EU will be quickly and effectively returned.”

The Commission underlined in the press release that the return of irregular migrants who have no right to stay in the EU to their home countries or to countries they transited through, is an essential part of the EU’s effort to limit the refugee influx which is expected to grow as the weather improves in Greece. Out of the 308 irregular migrants returned to Turkey most of them were from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

Today, the President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk who is on a visit to Athens, made an appeal to “all potential illegal economic migrants,” wherever they may be from to stop crossing to the EU.

“Do not come to Europe,” the EU official said and added, “do not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your lives and your money. It is all for nothing.”

 

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