The 2016 EU-Turkey migrant agreement has had a major impact on reducing the number of migrants and refugees to Greece, stated the head of the EU delegation in Turkey, Christian Berger. Speaking in an interview with the state-run news service AMNA recently, Berger added that this has also decreased the flow of migrants onward to the rest of the European Union as well.
He stated that the number of migrants and refugees who continue to lose their lives in the Aegean Sea has dropped significantly, from 1,500 in the years 2015 and 2016 to only several deaths annually now. Berger added that “they are still a lot, but much less than those in the two previous years”.
Berger spoke about the successful refugee plan, signed by both parties in March 2016, as a major highlight in relations between the E.U. and Turkey.
Asked if Turkey is in full compliance with the agreement, the EU representative answered positively. He stated that “The Turkish authorities are working very hard to intercept the flows as well as to dismantle the smugglers‘ rings that transfer Syrians and other migrants to Greece.”
Concerning the number of migrants who are sent back to Turkey from Greece, he said, “You will hear from the Turkish side that they are ready to receive more people but some legal procedures should be followed.”
Noting that some may perceive the Turkish legal process as lengthy, Berger stated “These people can object or file an appeal. The procedure should comply with the rule of law and I believe that this is happening”.