The establishment of a fast and large-scale mechanism to ship back irregular migrants arriving in Greece, would effectively break the business model of the smugglers, President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk said in a press conference in Turkey.
On Thursday, Tusk met with Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, Turkey to discuss about the growing refugee crisis. He welcomed all the Turkish efforts to limit the refugee influx in the EU but he said that he and Davutoglu agreed “that the refugee flows still remain far too high and that further action is needed.”
“It is for Turkey to decide how best to achieve such a reduction…the most promising method seems to be a fast and large-scale mechanism to ship back irregular migrants arriving in Greece. It would effectively break the business model of the smugglers,” Tusk said.
The EU official praised in the joint press conference with Davutoglu, Turkey’s recent decision to open its labor market for refugees and expressed his believe that there will be good progress on the readmission arrangements between the EU and Turkey. Tusk also welcomed the increased efforts by the Turkish authorities “to combat human trafficking” and tighten visa requirements. “We also welcome the recent decision to begin NATO support activities in the Aegean Sea,” Tusk added.
On Wednesday, the President of the EU Council had visited Athens, Greece and met with Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Then, Tusk also focused on the need for the establishment of efficient mechanism which are going to allow the repatriation of all the economic migrants who illegally try to enter the EU, even though they are not eligible to apply for asylum.
On 2 March, Tusk sent a direct message to the economic migrants and said: “Here from Athens, I want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants wherever you are from: Do not come to Europe. Do not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your lives and your money. It is all for nothing. Greece or any other European country will no longer be a transit country.”