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EU's Refugee Dilemma: 'Growing Panic' on How to Change Terms of Deal with Devil

When you make a deal with the devil, it's certain the devil will insist you keep up your end of the bargain.

That's precisely where we are at today in regards to the European refugee crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel signed off on a deal with the devil (Turkey) that would give 80 million Turkish Muslims visa-free access to the EU. As part of the deal, Turkey will receive €3 billion in aid.

In return, Turkey agreed to halt the flow of refugees pouring into Greece.

Turkey did stop the flow of refugees into Greece, and now the devil wants his due.


"Growing Panic"

The Financial Times reports EU States Grow Wary as Turkey Presses for Action on Visas Pledge.

European diplomats are agonising over their politically perilous promise to grant visa-free travel to 80m Turks, amid strong warnings from Ankara that the EU migration deal will fold without a positive visa decision by June.

The EU's month-old deal to return migrants from Greece to Turkey has dramatically cut flows across the Aegean, easing what had been an acute migration crisis. But the pact rests on sweeteners for Ankara that the EU is struggling to deliver -- above all, giving Turkish citizens short-term travel rights to Europe's Schengen area.

Germany, France and other countries nervous of a political backlash over Muslim migration have started exploring options to make the concession more politically palatable, including through safeguard clauses, extra conditions or watered-down terms. The political calculations are further complicated by looming EU visa decisions for Ukraine, Georgia and Kosovo.

One senior EU official said the search for alternatives reflected "growing panic" in Berlin and Paris over the looming need to deliver the pledge. The various options, the official added, were "a political smokescreen" to muster support in the Bundestag and European Parliament, which must also vote on the measures.

The Turkish visa issue has even flared in Britain's EU referendum campaign, forcing David Cameron, the prime minister, to clarify on Wednesday that Turks could not automatically come to the UK if they were granted visa rights to the 26-member Schengen area.


Devil Chimes In

"They cannot and should not change the rules of the game...We expect them to stick to what was agreed, otherwise how can we continue to trust the EU? We delivered on our side of the bargain. Now it is their turn," said the devil's spokesperson, Selim Yenel, Turkey's ambassador to the EU.

Supposedly it now takes a "a political smokescreen" to muster support in the Bundestag and European Parliament, which must also vote on the measures.

In other words, Merkel signed off on a deal that was not hers to make.

The devil himself chimed in.

"The EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said recently.


EU Unhappiness

Brussels is unhappy with the way Turkey has passed data protection laws and has issues with some of its terrorism legislation impinging on minority rights.

EU officials have in the past blamed Ankara's liberal visa policy -- and even the plethora of destinations offered by Turkish Airlines -- for making it too easy for people to risk the trip to Europe via Turkey. At the same time, Brussels is also demanding that Turkey give visa-free access to all EU citizens.

In regards to the above EU unhappiness, a lawyer representing the devil emailed me today stating "Where does the deal specify data protection and minority rights? Please show me the clause."

The devil ended his email to Mish with this line "When did I promise happiness?"


Deal History

 

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