Hungary has temporary saved the EU from capitulating to Turkey

On March 7th the EU-Turkey summit took place in Brussels. The attention of the meeting was focused on the refugee crisis. Most of the refugees travel to Europe through Turkey. The summit discussed the plans for the allocation of €3 billion to Turkey. While Germany is lobbying for the interests of Ankara, many of the EU members are full of skepticism towards Ankara. Ankara's proposals were not fully adopted at the summit due to the veto imposed by the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. However the EU leadership is ready to approve it, but now has to postpone it till 17th March.

The main issues of the summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the focus of the summit should be the following questions: “To what projects of assistance to refugees in Turkey should Brussels allocate three billion euros towards; how to protect the external EU borders; how the EU can help Greece in the current difficult situation with migrants”. The allocation of €3 billion had been agreed a few months ago, but it was later postponed.

Distrust towards Turkey

There is no assurance among the leaders of the European countries that this money will be spent in a targeted manner. Czech President Milos Zeman, before heading to the summit in Brussels, said that he is opposed to allocating €3 billion to Turkey. According to him, the Turks are not only able to stop the flow of migrants coming to Europe, but also do not want to.

According to our sources, Turkey is deliberately using refugees as an instrument of pressure on the EU. In mid-February, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to open their borders with EU countries for refugees. And it looks like it worked. On the eve of the summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised Turkey she would speed up the process of accepting them into the European Union. Merkel stated that Turkey can join the EU as soon as it resolves the migration crisis.

Turkish blackmail

This time, the Turks also used their ability to aggravate the migration crisis in Europe to promote their own interests. In particular, the Turkish side demanded an additional €3 billion to address the problems of migrants. In addition, Turkey demanded that the EU introduce a visa-free regime with the country in July, not in October, as was previously planned. Ankara also demanded to accelerate the negotiations on its accession to the EU.

In return, Turkey offered to accept all refugees who try to reach Europe using the Balkan route from a certain date. In addition, Turkey is ready to accept all refugees that are located on the islands of the Aegean Sea in Greece. Indeed instead, the EU should take the same number of refugees from Turkey and distribute them to member countries.

The EU leaders are welcomed this plan but not persuaded all the countries to adopt it. Also the EU want to allocate to Turkey lesser sum of money.

The failure of Tusk’s mission

On the eve of the summit, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk visited Turkey, and before that, Greece and the Balkan countries, who, together with Austria, closed their borders to migrants. One of the most debated topics was the possible closure of the Balkan refugee transportation route to Europe. This shows that Tusk did not manage to reach an agreement with Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, and the two states that are not included in the EU - Serbia and Macedonia - on the possibility of opening the borders to migrants.

This creates problems for Greece, which has accumulated a large number of refugees who cannot get into the rich countries of Europe. In order to solve the Greek problem it is necessary to create mechanisms for tighter controls on the external borders of the EU. Greece's sea border with Turkey is primarily in question.

Hungarian veto

If the Turks offer a solution, for which the EU will have to pay dearly, the issue of redistribution of migrants will remain. The Eastern European countries are against this measure. Hungary has already announced it will hold a referendum on the EU quota imposed on it by the acceptance of migrants. This step can be repeated as Slovakia, the Baltic States, and Poland oppose the plans of redistribution of migrants from the Middle East in their countries. It is reported that it was Hungary who blocked the Turkish offer due to a disagreement on the plan of direct resettlement from Turkey to European countries.

Of the 160,000 people who the EU “agreed” to start redistributing, Germany is ready to settle 40,000, France - 30 000, and Portugal - 10,000. The fate of the others is unknown. British Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier that his country would not participate in these plans, since it enjoys a special status in the EU.

Paralysis of will

EU countries prefer to solve the problem of migrants on their own by blocking the border within the EU and introducing passport controls. In fact, this cancels the free movement between the States of the Union, which arose after the signing of the Schengen agreements. They have to pursue these steps since the EU cannot provide an effective policy to counter the threat of migration.

Furthermore, the influx of migrants is not perceived as a threat by most of the EU's ruling elite. They are ready to receive refugees from Turkey directly. In this case no fence save any EU country from migrants. The questions related to the identity of the "new Europeans" are totally ignored, as this factor has traditionally not been taken into account in the framework of the dominant liberal ideology in Europe.