Greece Calls for Expansion of EU-Turkey Migration Deal Amid Improved Cooperation

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Athens has expressed its desire to expand the migration deal with Turkey, according to Greek Interior Minister Dimitrios Kairidis.

The deal, which was reached between the European Union and Turkey in 2016, aimed to return undocumented migrants from Turkey to the Greek islands if they did not have valid asylum applications. However, Kairidis stated that the deal is currently not effective as Turkey is not accepting the return of people.

After a meeting with EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson and German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, Kairidis noted that there has been more cooperation from Turkey and improved border control. Germany is particularly concerned as many migrants who enter the EU from Turkey eventually head to Germany. Kairidis also mentioned that there have been positive developments on the ground, especially at the land border.

Despite past tensions between Athens and Ankara over migration and territorial disputes, there have been recent efforts to improve bilateral ties, such as Greece's prompt reaction to earthquakes in Turkey earlier this year. Additionally, Turkey has expressed renewed interest in negotiations for EU accession. Kairidis believes it is time to expand and revitalize the EU-Turkey migration deal, acknowledging the need for improvement in border control and combating smuggling networks. He also mentioned the possibility of including controls at the land border to apply the deal to migrants crossing there.

If cooperation continues to improve, Kairidis suggests exploring more ambitious measures, such as visa liberalization for Turkish citizens. He also mentioned the aspect of funding, stating that the EU could provide an additional €3 billion to finance the deal, in addition to the €10 billion already allocated.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024