Refugees International Statement on the Five-Year Anniversary of the EU-Turkey Deal

Please see below statement from Refugees International Europe Advocate Daphne Panayotatos: 

“On March 18, 2016, the European Union and Turkey agreed on a statement of cooperation to manage the crossing of refugees and migrants from Turkey to Greece’s Aegean islands. The deal came in response to the rapid arrival in Europe of more than 1 million people fleeing conflict and hardship at home. Five years and billions of euros later, with tens of thousands of people still trapped in dire conditions on the islands, what has long been clear is as evident as ever—the deal is a failure. 

The EU’s policy of containment and externalization of asylum is responsible for the humanitarian disaster at Greece’s border. However, its proposed new regional Pact on Migration and Asylum risks institutionalizing these approaches, replicating conditions that exacerbate human suffering and violate individuals’ human rights throughout the region. 

As negotiations over the Pact continue, the EU and its Member States must learn from the past five years and move forward in a new direction. They must expand legal pathways for people to seek international protection safely and establish a mechanism to equitably share responsibility for those who arrive. Rather than outsource their moral and legal obligations, the EU must establish an effective and humane regional system for asylum and protection.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Refugees International Director of Communications Sarah Sheffer at  

PHOTO CAPTION: Migrants walk along a railway line after they have crossed the border from Serbia into Hungary close to the village of Roszke on August 29, 2015 near Szeged, Hungary. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)