Guy Verhofstadt: EU-Turkey deal will not stop people smugglers

The European Parliament's ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt has warned that the latest agreement between the EU and Turkey will do little to deter people smugglers or their victims.

By Colin Mackay

09 Mar 2016

Verhofstadt has claimed that the new deal to stop the flow of Syrian refugees from Turkey will not work.

He told his 71,000 followers on Twitter that asking Turkey to manage the situation was; “like the Americans asking the Mexicans to manage their borders.”

He believed the deal would backfire, saying “refugees will look for alternatives routes via Lampedusa, Malta, Albania.” He also expressed concerns that Turkey was not the ideal arbiter of refugee status, saying, “Will we really allow Turkey, poor member of Geneva Convention, to decide on an individual basis who is a political #refugee and who is not?


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He said his fellow policymakers should have, “put as much effort into ending the conflict in Syria as they had put into the Turkey agreement.”

He acknowledged that a practical arrangements with Turkey was essential, but that this would not work on it own. It also needed to be, “part of a comprehensive approach combined with common border and coast guards and EU asylum policy.”

His comments followed a press conference during the Parliament’s plenary session, where the Belgian deputy said that there was, “a sentiment of discomfort on account of the fact that we are trying to shift our problems to Turkey. We are making a deal between EU and Turkey, and in the name of that deal we sacrifice some of our European principles.”

Verhofstadt added that he plans to raise a number of key questions over the deal to EU’s Council and Commission.

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