*NO INCENTIVE FOR TURKEY TO STOP IRREGULAR MIGRATION UNDER NEW EU DEAL
*AUSTRIA AND ITALY CONTINUE PUSH TO CLOSE BORDERS IN EUROPE
*ALBANIA ASKS ITALY FOR HELP IN STOPPING POTENTIAL MIGRANT WAVE
*GREEK GOVERNMENT NEEDS 4000 EU PERSONNEL TO IMPLEMENT COSMETIC DEAL
Austria has said it will continue a push to strengthen Europe’s borders amid fears that the European Union deal hammered out with Turkey on Friday will fail to reduce the influx of migrants.
Interior Minister Johanna Mikl Leitner told the ORF that no one could say whether the agreement would reduce the number of illegal migrants and more border controls might be necessary.
Under the European Union deal with Turkey, a limit appears to have been set on the migrants, who cross to Greece by sea from Sunday, and who will be sent back to Turkey after their asylum claims have been processed.
In return for Turkish cooperation, the EU will take in at most 72,000 Syrian refugees directly from Turkey.
What happens after the limit of 72,000 has been reached is not clear. Turkey has no obligation to take in more migrants from Greece than 72,000.
That means, migrants could continue to flood into Greece once the 72,000 quota is filled and the scheme becomes obsolete.
Writing in Der Standard, Eric Frey points out that Turkey has no incentive to block the passage of migrants to Greece under the deal. The opposite is true. The more migrants it encourages to cross to Greece, the better for Turkey.
The 72,000 cap could be filled by summer or even earlier given the fact that Alexis Tsipras plans to send the about 50,000 migrants already in Greece back to Turkey as soon as possible under this scheme, according to Bild.
In addition, it is not clear which EU countries are going to take the 72,000 Syrian refugees from Turkey since no quota has been set and no country has volunteered to take any.
It is almost certain that EU countries will not agree to take more Syrian refugees once the 72,000 quota is filled, raising the question of what Greece will do if it finds itself flooded with migrants again in the summer.
In addition, the Greek government has said it does not have the personnel to register and process thousands of asylum claims. Under the deal, migrants arriving on the Aegean are supposed to be sent back to Turkey from today.
The EU has said 4000 personnel will be assigned to the task.
It is not clear where the resources for a much needed new EU coast guard will come from it vast funds are to be spent on an unwieldy plan which has no guarantee of reducing irregular migration.
The flawed plan will further undermine the credibility of Angela Merkel, who hastily developed the plan together Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, after the Balkans countries closed their borders to Greece.
It will also undermine Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose claim to have saved Greece from a tide of migrants is undermined by the fact that he needs 4000 EU personnel to implement the plan in the short term and it will likely not work in the long term.
Until Tsipras opened Greece’s borders in 2015, closed detention centres functioned effectively without the need for 4000 EU and Turkish personnel.
Hardly has the ink dried on the cumbersome, costly and cosmetic deal, than countries like Austria, Italy and Bulgaria are stepping up efforts to protect their borders against new migrant routes opening up in Italy and eastern Europe.
Albania has asked Italy for help in closing its border in case migrants attempt to cross it.
Bulgaria is planning to build a new fence along its border to Greece.