EU and Turkey agree on refugee action plan
The EU and Turkey have agreed on an action plan for reducing the number of refugees arriving in the EU. Ankara is to improve its border control measures and in return the country will be declared a safe country of origin. The deal is a farce in view of all the human rights violations committed in Turkey, some commentators argue. Others lament that a common asylum policy is still a distant goal for the EU.
Turkey not a safe country of origin
After the attacks on demonstrators, the curfews and the violence against journalists in recent months upgrading Turkey's status to a "safe country of origin" would be wrong, comments centre-left daily Der Standard: "What Brussels and some EU governments are trying to do is to soften their stance on Turkey: a difficult partner, it is said, with whom they must quickly agree on a plan of action to stem the influx of refugees. Turkey is to become Europe's subsidised docklands. Those who dock in there stay there; those who move on will be sent back. But that won't be quite so easy. Being a 'Safe country of origin' means observing the European Convention on Human Rights. And Ankara clearly has problems with that."
EU partners leaving Merkel in the lurch
A common EU refugee policy will remain a farce as long as the EU partners don't keep their promises, the conservative daily Financial Times comments: "[Merkel's] grand moral gesture can only work if it is accompanied by policies that somehow bring the flow of migrants from the Middle East and Africa under control - and these are not yet in sight. ... Frontex, the EU's border agency, asked for an extra 775 personnel from member states at the start of the month to help process arriving refugees. Thus far only 48 individuals have been sent. National capitals also pledged €500m for a trust fund for Syria to enhance conditions in refugee camps. They have hitherto given just €8m."
Berlin wants to impose its asylum policy on Europe
The fourth EU refugee summit was also essentially about where to put all these people, the liberal business paper Hospodářské noviny comments, and calls for a coherent and joint EU asylum policy: "Quotas can't be pushed through politically, not even in countries that approve of them formally. ... The difference in approaches boils down to one between states that send on refugees so that others are left struggling with them, and states that put up fences. Europe only accepts the first - Greek and Italian - variant. The second - Hungarian - variant is rejected. At least formally. And at least so far. ... It's only understandable that Germany, which receives the most refugees, is trying to convince the other EU countries to adopt its integration policy. An agreement on this issue would be simpler - and better - for everyone concerned. But not according to German rules."