Andrew Turner, the Island’s MP, has criticised the proposed deal between the European Union and Turkey seeking to manage the refugee crisis. The draft ‘one-in, one-out’ deal proposes that for each Syrian refugee who has illegally entered the EU and is returned to Turkey, a Syrian asylum-seeker currently in Turkey will be legally resettled in the EU. It would also allow 75 million Turks visa-free access to the Schengen Area, and an acceleration of Turkey’s negotiations for EU membership. Turkey would also receive £4.7bn for their participation in the programme. The British contribution is not yet clear, but £250m has already been agreed in principle. EU leaders will meet next week to discuss the proposals again.
Mr Turner said “The EU has handled the refugee crisis very badly – and that continues. This time it is the German Chancellor trying to save face in Germany by agreeing this dodgy deal with Turkey. Angela Merkel seems to think she has the power to negotiate on behalf of all member states. After she held behind-the-scenes negotiations with the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday, the proposals went before the twenty-eight EU members on Monday.
“The deal is legally dubious and full of flaws; it is unlikely to be approved, because all 28 Member States will need to agree. For a start I would be amazed if Cyprus agrees to it before Turkey formally recognised them. If the deal were ever approved then Syrians already in the EU would have to agree to be sent back to Turkey to go to the bottom of the list of those entitled to be resettled in the EU legally. It’s fantasy.
“The British are more than paying their way in supporting these vulnerable and sometimes desperate people, but we are supporting them close to their countries of origin. Paying into this scheme would take us to a new position. Europe simply cannot cope with everybody who would like to live here; it is pointless to pretend we can.
“Just because the UK is not a member of the Schengen agreement does not mean we will not be affected by the resettlement plan or by the visa liberalisation for the Turks. If we vote to stay in the EU on June 23rd, anybody who manages to obtain an EU passport, for example through naturalisation or marriage, will get free access to move to the UK.
“We must be able to make our own decisions on who can come into our country. Without that we are simply not a sovereign nation.”