In order to prevent illegal immigration to Europe, the Dutch government wants to implement a similar agreement for the readmission of refugees signed between Turkey and the European Union (EU) with two North African countries.
Eric van der Burg, Minister of State for Asylum and Migration, said that efforts are underway with Tunisia and Morocco to “make a deal in exchange for something”.
The Netherlands took action to renew the agreement with Turkey.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited Rome to seek support for the North Africa plan.
Rutte and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni agreed on a “new Turkey agreement” with the North African countries.
Speaking at the joint press conference held in oma, Rutte said that they are willing to travel to African countries together to make arrangements with Meloni.
The two leaders agreed to make a European-wide effort on human trafficking to prevent boating disasters in the Mediterranean.
The Dutch House of Representatives also discussed the law on out-migration in a special session.
On the other hand, the British government is preparing a draft law on asylum seekers coming to the country from the English Channel. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) opposes the bill, which it says is “very worrying” and would prevent even people with strong reasons from applying for asylum.
‘It’s logical for them to want something in return’
Minister for Asylum and Immigration Eric van der Burg said that with a new “Turkey agreement” to be signed with North African countries, illegal migration from the Mediterranean to Europe with weak boats could be prevented.
Minister van der Burg gave optimistic messages, especially about the agreement with Tunisia.
The Dutch minister stressed that, as with Turkey, agreements could be made with Tunisia and Morocco to keep refugees in that area “in exchange for something”.
“It is very good that we are making agreements with Morocco and Tunisia and it is logical that they want something in return. Even if they have different standards and values, you have to make agreements with the countries on the opposite side,” he said.
The Dutch minister also said that in return for the agreement, Tunisian citizens can be granted a permit to study or work in Europe for a few years, or provide visa facilitation.
‘THE SITUATION WITH TURKEY IS SOME COMPLEX’
Emphasizing that the talks are proceeding with “baby steps”, van der Burg said, “But something will happen.”
The Dutch government has been pushing for the renewal of the agreement signed between Turkey and the European Union in 2016 for a long time.
However, according to the Telegraaf newspaper, the lack of taking the desired steps in this regard causes a reaction from the parliament.
Minister van der Burg said that “the situation is complex” regarding the new agreement with Turkey. Emphasizing that the process is progressing slowly, van der Burg stated that the process should be faster.
WHAT DID THE ‘IMMIGRANT AGREEMENT’ BETWEEN TURKEY AND EU COVER?
The migrant agreement between Turkey and the EU entered into force on 18 March 2016 after the Turkey-EU summit.
The agreement is known to the public as the ’18 March Agreement’, the ‘Immigrant Agreement’.
Authorities had previously met at the summits of November 15, 2015 and November 29, 2015, and it was decided to implement the Joint Action Plan, which envisages cooperation to support Turkey, which accepts refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria, and to prevent irregular migration to the EU.
Additional articles agreed to end irregular migration at the summit on March 18, 2016 were as follows:
As of 20 March 2016, all new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands will be returned to Turkey. Immigrants arriving on the Greek islands will be duly registered and their asylum applications will be processed individually in cooperation with UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees). Those found ill-founded or inadmissible will be extradited to Turkey. The costs of the return procedures of irregular migrants will be covered by the EU
In line with the UN criteria for vulnerable groups, for each Syrian returned to Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian from Turkey will be resettled to the EU (1-to-1 formula). In the first stage, 18 thousand people will be placed, then a maximum of 54 thousand people will be placed on a voluntary basis.
Turkey will prevent the formation of new irregular migration routes to the EU, will take all kinds of measures to prevent sea and land routes, and will cooperate with neighboring states as well as the EU in this direction.
The Voluntary Humanitarian Admission scheme, to which EU member states will contribute on a voluntary basis, will be introduced when irregular crossings cease or drastically decrease.
Provided that all criteria are met by the end of June 2016, visa facilitation and visa exemption issues will be evaluated in favor of Turkey and speed will be accelerated.
The EU will accelerate the payment of the 3 billion euro initially allocated under the Asylum Seeker Facility for Turkey, and projects for those under temporary protection will be financed before the end of March 2016. When resources are close to being fully utilized and obligations are met, the EU will launch an additional 3 billion euro fund by the end of 2018 under the Facility for Refugees.