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“All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavour to find out what you don’t know from what you do.” – Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington

"My dear. A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears. "
- Violet in Downton Abbey

26 mei 2016

WHO GUARDS OUR BORDERS? By Antonio Vulas (Head of Illegal Migrations Department Split-Dalmatia)


Signing of the EU-Turkey Agreement, with the main task of containing the migration flaw from Turkey towards Greece, and Europe, has sparked many disputes. Defenders and opponents of the agreement have spent many emotional words to convince others in their standpoints.
In short, the defenders of the Agreement try to convince the others the Agreement is the only way how the EU can be saved from unstoppable current of migrants coming from the Middle East and other parts of Asia and Africa ravaged by the wars, political and economic disturbances. How desperate they are is best show by their readiness to sign the agreement with a politician who would never pass the test of the Copenhagen criteria.
On the other side, the opponents of the Agreement have elaborated their reasons more broadly. Various groups and individuals have been attacking the Agreement from pure legal and human rights reasons, some think it is "perverse" to deal in that way with someone who is chiefly responsible for uncontrolled illegal flaw of people across the European borders, while others see it as a explicit example of political blackmail and evidence of European weakness.
At the moment the flow of the migrants from Turkey towards the Greek islands has ebbed.
For the defenders of the Agreement that is a clear proof they were right. For the opponents the present situation proves only how the EU is weak, and how they were right when they said that Europe's security depends only on Mr Erdogan.
As always the time will show who was right. But for the moment we should look for the simple facts. Why the migrants have stopped to arrive from Turkey? Is it because of the actions of the Turkish authorities? Or is it because the migrants cannot move any further from Greece?
Somehow it seems that the defenders of the Agreement keep forgetting the second fact. As a result of the Salzburg Forum States' initiative the FYROM-Greek border has been sealed off in March. Since than about 8000 migrants have been lingering in a makeshift camp in Idomeni in front of the FYROM border. They have tried to brake their way across the border few times but in general the migrants have been stopped on FYROM border. Not on the Turkish shores. Tens of thousands migrants still waits in Greece hoping that they will somehow succeed to reach their destinations in the Western and Northern Europe. We know it has not happen so far.
At the same time we do not know anything about supposed actions of the Turkish authorities in order to curb the migrants flow. What do we know? All we know is that the Turkish authorities threat that they will let (again) the migrants to cross their sea borders if the EU does not fulfill its part of the bargain.
Do we know how many traffickers on the Turkish side has been arrested so far? Do we know how many attempts of the migrants to leave the Turkish shores have been stopped by the Turkish authorities? Do we know how many operations against illegal traffickers the Turkish authorities have performed and what were the results of those operations?
Can we be sure that if the EU keeps its part of the bargain, and if the FYROM border is open again that the Turkish authorities will be able to stop the illegal migrations to Greece? If yes, what are the evidences on which that standpoint can be based?
The last week the Greek judges in a Syrian migrants' case decided that Turkey is not a safe country where the migrants can be returned. Turkey as a safe country is a key stone of the EU-Turkey Agreement. Will this decision decide the fate of the Agreement?
No matter what happens the Salzburg Forum and FYROM have provided evidence that Europe is still able to defend its borders by itself. Although the EU has nothing to do with the actions on the southern FYROM border some politicians of some EU Member States will easily boast with the sharp fall of the migrants' arrivals as a success of their policies.
In both cases the EU security depends on two non-EU countries. The opponents of this kind of approach towards the migrants will claim the same reasons why they oppose these activities both on Turkish shores or FYROM borders. The only difference is that the EU is ready to provide support to only one of those countries.

 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/who-guards-our-borders-antonio-vulas?trk=hp-feed-article-title-publish



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