A video registration of this debate can now be viewed :
Last March the EU, under Dutch presidency, closed a deal with Turkey to restrict the number of refugees aiming to reach the European mainland. The deal can be considered a success on the basis of the reduced amount of refugees that arrive in Greece: 160.000 in 2016 (so far) against 860.000 in 2015. However, Amnesty International establishes that the conditions of and prospects of migrants and refugees in the neighbouring countries of Syria and in Greece have worsened. To what extent can we regard this as a successful deal?
Gerald Knaus, the architect of the deal, remains optimistic and points to the fact that fewer people arrive in Greece and the number of drowned refugees has declined significantly. Yet only a small number of refugees have been sent back to Turkey, a country that is not considered as a safe haven by many. According to Amnesty International the EU willfully misrepresented the situation in Turkey in a relentless attempt to prevent refugees from fleeing to Europe. Moreover, Turkey is breaking international refugee laws by illegally sending refugees back to Syria.
This situation raises a few questions: is the deal with Turkey a sustainable solution (in the light of recent events)? If so, is it therefore a blueprint for future agreements, with North African countries for example? How do these agreements relate to a sustainable international refugee system? A system where human rights and shared responsibilities are key components?
We will discuss the aforementioned issues with (amongst others) Gerald Knaus (director European Stability Initiative), Eduard Nazarski (director Amnesty International the Netherlands), EP Kati Piri and Fransje Molenaar, research fellow Clingendael. The debate will be moderated by journalist and television presenter Marcia Luyten.
Further details regarding the programme and registration can be found here.