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Commission publishes second progress report on the implementation of EU-Turkey deal
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"This Second Report sets out the considerable further progress made in implementing the EU-Turkey Statement since the First Report, and identifies the next steps required to consolidate this achievement so as to maintain the momentum. These are needed given that the context remains difficult and geopolitical risks continue to exist, while all aspects of the EU-Turkey Statement are not yet established on a firm footing."

The report covers:

1. Introduction
2. Return of all new irregular migrants from Greece to Turkey
3. "One for One" resettlement from Turkey to the EU
4. Prevention of new sea or land routes for irregular migration from Turkey
5. Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme
6. Visa liberalisation
7. Facility for Refugees in Turkey
8. Upgrading the Customs Union
9. Accession process
10. Humanitarian conditions inside Syria
11. Conclusion

See: European Commission, Second Report on the progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement (COM(2016) 349 final, pdf)

The Commission's press release: Managing the refugee crisis: Commission reports on progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement (pdf)

Related press coverage: Turkey to miss visa-free travel deadline (Politico, link)

In the conclusion of the report, the Commission states that "above all urgent attention should be given to the following steps:

  • Greece should increase its capacity to deal with the individual assessment of asylum applications and appeals and in the most timely manner to ensure returns and readmissions, notably through the use of the safe third country concept, as well as enhance the reception capacity on the islands and improve the day to day management and coordination of the hotspots, with the coordinated support of the EU and its Member States.
  • The EU and its Member States should consolidate resettlement efforts from Turkey to the EU.
  • The European Parliament and the Council should swiftly finalise the decision-making process on the Commission proposal of 21 March 2016 to use for resettlement purposes the 54,000 places originally foreseen for relocation.
  • Turkey should take the necessary measures to fulfil the remaining visa liberalisation benchmarks as soon as possible, in order to enable the EU to lift the visa requirements for Turkish citizens."

It seesm that the EU's own asylum agency is under pressure not to do anything that would threaten the EU-Turkey deal. EUobserver reports that:

"The European Commission and some member states want to bury a report by an EU agency that is likely to say Turkey is unfit for asylum seekers, EUobserver understands.

People sitting on the management board of the Malta-based European Asylum Support Office (EASO), including EU commission staff from the home affairs department, DG Home, are unhappy with EASO's efforts to determine if Turkey is a safe third country.

The management board also includes representatives from all 28 EU member states.

"The subject is a sensitive one indeed and so obviously there can be some members of the management which have concerns," Jean-Pierre Schembri, EASO's spokesperson told this website on Wednesday (15 June)."

See: EU trying to bury report on Turkey migrant returns (EUobserver, link)

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