Turkey failed in refugee standoff with Greece, EU commissioner says

A Greek European Union commissioner said Turkey had failed in its standoff with Greece over refugees.

Margaritis Schinas, European Commission Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life, told Euronews on Monday that the EU had shown the capacity, means and political will to safeguard its external borders. 

But Schinas also called for cooperation with Turkey on migration.

“There should be no doubt in Europe that we need Turkey in the management of migration-related issues and flows,” Schinas told Euronews. He called for a “solid basis for cooperation with mutual obligations that both sides will respect”.

Turkey announced in late February it would no longer prevent migrants trying to reach Europe. The move was perceived as an attempt to drum up more EU aid for the roughly 4 million refugees inside Turkey, and to rally European support for Turkey’s military campaign in Idlib, Syria.

Referring to recent remarks by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu that the country’s “open border” policy for anyone wishing to cross into Europe would continue, Schinas said that the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was in talks with his Turkish counterpart with the aim of updating the 2016 migrant deal.

Turkey says the EU has failed to keep to pledges it made in the deal, which promised Turkey billions of euros in financial aid in return for curbing the flow of migrants to Europe.