Ahead of the 28-29 June crucial EU Summit where migration will be of top importance, Greece’s Prime minister, Alexis Tsipras gave an interview to the Financial Times (FT) appearing ready to talk “a special agreement with Berlin to curtail the ‘secondary movement’ of refugees that arrive at the EU’s southern border but then journey north to Germany”, the ft.com website reads.
The Greek premier said “We don’t care about the fact that maybe we’ll have some returns from Germany if this will help, in order to give the signal to the smugglers [that Europe is tackling illegal migration flows]”.
Moreover, the ft.com quotes him saying that the EU’s existing rule book for allocating responsibility for asylum seekers, known as the Dublin regulation, was ‘out of life’.
Meanwhile, Angela Merkel has the Sword of Damocles hanging over her head, since the coalition is threatened by the migrant row and it might even be ripped apart if she ” fails to get results at the end of this month”, the Financial Times underline.
CSU vs CDU
The actual problem is causing serious concerns over the future of the government and he German chancellor’s conservative bloc. The deep and crucial disagreement over the migration rift has alienated Merkel’s Bavarian allies, the CSU party, traditionally more conservative than the CDU.
The split that Germany does not wish to see as an impending one, would be of historic proportions and a political moment that would damage not only Germany but the rest of Europe, too.
In the meantime, if Alexis Tsipras backs the German Chancellor by helping her through accepting “red flagged” refugees to be returned to Greece, things will run more smoothly for Merkel.
According to Merkel’s CSU interior minister Horst Seehofer’s plan, “would see refugees turned away at the borders if they were already registered in another EU country or lacked the correct documentation. But the chancellor is loathe to take any action that is not coordinated with Germany’s EU allies and reportedly sees the country’s approach to asylum as a part of her legacy.”
So, right now, she is fighting internal politics, issues that arise due to the migrant crisis, her present and future image and her European partners. FT reports that she is under “intense pressure (…) to convince governments to speed up return procedures for asylum seekers already registered in other EU countries.”
I say ‘NO’
Apart from Bavaria and Merkel’s allies there, the country that might also hinder a Germany-Greece agreement could be Italy. Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s Prime Minister declines to accept more migrants in the country. Along with the populist approaches of the Austrian and Hungarian governments, they could pose a threat to other European states’ plans.
Leaders will discuss migration policy and are expected to underline the need for a comprehensive approach to migration and the importance of effective control at the EU’s external borders (Greece, Italy and Spain among these countries that face severe problems).
As pointed out on the official European Council’s page, the heads of state or government are expected to highlight the achievements since the height of the crisis in 2015, that is the reduction of illegal migration by more than 95%.
Furthermore, leaders will talk about and review all latest developments on the Eastern and Western Mediterranean routes and are expected to offer further support to member states and partners, as well as countries of origin and transit and agree to further support Libyan authorities, and the Libyan Coastguard in particular, in dealing with migration challenges.
“With the aim of breaking the business model of smugglers, the European Council is expected to agree on further exploring the concept of regional disembarkation platforms, in close cooperation with relevant third countries, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
In terms of funding, it is hoped that member states will be in a position to welcome an agreement on the financing of the facility for refugees in Turkey and the EU trust fund for Africa. Leaders are also expected to call for a new and dedicated external migration management facility to be included under the next EU long term budget (MFF)”, consillium.europa.eu reads…. / IBNA