Just 16% of asylum seekers landing in Greece can be returned back to Turkey – despite the fact the EU is paying Turkey €7bn by 2020 partly to take in more migrants.
This is a case that sums up the EU perfectly: hundreds of thousands of migrants were arriving in Greece, crippling the country. So the EU agreed to send bucket loads of cash to Turkey to take some of the migrants and ease the pressure on Greece.
But EU law dictates that refugees have the right to stay in the first safe EU country they arrive in…so everyone scheduled for deportation to Turkey can appeal. And Greece’s legal system can’t handle all the appeals. So they don’t get deported.
Oh, and loads of them are children, or claiming to be children, so they definitely can’t be sent back to Turkey.
Maria Stavropoulou, the former head of the Greek asylum service, said: “Given what we know about Turkey, those who can be shipped back are mostly Syrians, who enjoy a high level of protection. However, due to appeals and cancellation requests the process can take a very long time.”
What a classic case of the piss-poor, ill-thought out EU policy and a startling waste of taxpayers’ cash. Nothing new there then.