The EU-Turkey refugee agreement has been in force for two years. It was signed on 18 March 2016 to solve one of Europe`s most pressing problems: the massive influx of refugees. It will not be easy to find a new consensus. Ankara wants to impose progress on its demands, including support for its Idlib operation and significantly more funding for Syrians in Turkey, but EU leaders do not want to appear as President Erdogan`s hostage. Brussels` desire to remain firm in its other disputes with Ankara reduces the prospects for a quick solution to the current migration dispute. By the end of 2017, the EU-Turkey agreement had succeeded in limiting irregular migration to Europe via Turkey. However, many doubts remain about the implementation of the agreement, including the question of how the agreement might be contrary to the protection of human rights presented by the Indian of the 1951 Geneva Convention. Critics say the agreement is essentially a deterrence strategy aimed at encouraging irregular migrants to apply for asylum in Turkey rather than submitting to arrest and repatriation to Ankara, which ultimately prolongs their application process. In practice, Turkey had committed itself to controlling Europe`s borders from outside.
But what has greatly reduced arrivals in Greece is not only the outsourcing of migration control to its neighbours, but also the internalisation of derogatory zones within Europe`s borders. With the closure of the Balkan route and the entry into force of the agreement with Turkey, Greece has become the final destination. Those who arrived after March 20, 2016 found themselves trapped on the islands. The European Commission said that geographical restriction was a necessary part of the implementation of the agreement to ensure that irregular arrivals are immediately returned to Turkey or its country of origin. As a result, the Greek islands have become open-air detention centres. To understand, we need to rethink the foundations of the agreement. On paper, Turkey has pledged to resume all irregular arrivals that have reached Greek shores. In exchange, EU member states agreed to relocate one Syrian national for every Syrian repatriated to Turkey. The EU has also promised to speed up the process of liberalising the visa regime for Turkish citizens and to increase financial assistance for the reception of refugees in Turkey (3 billion euros, plus 3 billion euros a few months later).
The message was clear: those who try to reach Greece would be sent back quickly, while those who waited patiently in Turkey would have the opportunity to replace them. Greece is often the first EU member state to enter by irregular migrants who have transited through Turkey. Greek islands such as Lesbos are receiving more and more irregular migrants, who now have to wait for asylum status to be determined before travelling to their final destinations in other parts of Europe.