EU-Turkey migrant deal is 'botched job', says Spain

Spain image via Shutterstock
Spain's foreign minister today described the EU's deal with Turkey to stem the influx of migrants as a "botched job", blasting Europe's "inadequate" response to its worst migration crisis since World War II.

Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said he was unhappy with leaving the solution to the crisis in the hands of a country outside the European Union, despite Madrid having backed the controversial deal with Ankara.

"This deal we have signed with Turkey, it's a botched job," he told the Cope radio station.

"For Turkey to help us so that (refugees) do not come by sea en masse is good -- before, they were risking their lives and criminal gangs... Were benefiting from their misfortune," he added.

"But that does not mean that this is not a botched job, and it leaves the solution in the hands of a third country."

Under the deal, Turkey has agreed to take back migrants landing on Greek islands in exchange for political incentives including billions of euros in aid and visa-free European travel for its citizens.

The Turkish agreement is the cornerstone of the EU's plan to curb a crisis that has seen 1.25 million Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan and other migrants enter since 2015, though the numbers of arrivals have dropped since March.

Garcia-Margallo criticised EU efforts on refugees as "very inadequate" compared to countries like Lebanon, which has taken in more than a million people fleeing the Syrian war -- equivalent to more than a quarter of its own population.

In April, acting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy faced heavy criticism from lawmakers over the fact that Spain had taken in only 16 asylum-seekers under an EU relocation plan, out of a promised 16,000.

Garcia-Margallo blamed problems with registering migrants for the slow progress, claiming registration centres in Greece simply "don't work".

"Greece does not have the civil servants to resolve all these problems and the rest of the countries are waiting for someone to tell us 'the process has begun and you must start taking in the refugees'," he said.

He called for a "genuinely shared European asylum agency" to speed up the process.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel