Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Brussels tells Greece: migration deal with Turkey is Plan A

The European Commission told Greece Wednesday that making the immigration agreement between the European Union and Turkey work is "Plan A" after Greece called for an alternative plan to tackle the migration crisis.

The Greek government had asked Brussels for an alternative immigration plan after Turkey threatened to distance itself from a deal with the EU on the return of refugees, if Schengen Area visa requirements for Turkish citizens were not abolished by autumn.

"The commission has a Plan A and that is to make the EU-Turkey deal work successfully", EC spokesperson Mina Andreeva said.

Her comments came after those of Greek Migration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas, who on Wednesday told German newspaper Bild "We need a Plan B".

The EU has had a European agenda for migration since 2015 and the EC has spent the past 15 months delivering on relocation and resettlement, reform of the European asylum system, emergency help for Greece and other countries that are under pressure, as well as support for Balkan countries, Andreeva said.

As part of the current agreement, Turkey has to take back refugees who arrive to the Greek islands illegally via its territory in exchange for up to 6 billion euros ($6.72 billion) in EU funding.

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