EU must update migration pact with Turkey: German FM

EU must update migration pact with Turkey: German FM
Heiko Maas told German daily Die Welt that the EU must update the accord with Turkey.
2 min read
23 June, 2021
German Foreign Minster Heiko Maas has called for an updated migrant deal with Turkey [Getty]

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said the European Union should update its migration agreement with Turkey, due to the pressures on Ankara caused by the refugee crisis.

The EU-Turkey migration deal was struck in 2016, providing provisions for Ankara to curb unauthorised migration to Europe, and allowing Greece to send migrants who have reached the Aegean Islands back to Turkey.

The current conditions mean that Turkey should have a better deal, Maas suggested.

"Despite all the difficulties we have with the Turkish government, it must be recognised that the country has taken on a not inconsiderable migration burden for us. Almost four million refugees from the Syrian civil war and from other countries in the region live there alone," Maas told Die Welt in an interview published Sunday.

"I believe that we in the EU have a great interest in the migration agreement with Turkey being further developed and updated."

Greece has shown increasing resistance to the deal, designating Turkey a "safe country" for asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Somalia, so that Athens can speed up repatriations to its eastern neighbour.

A new deal would mean additional funds for Turkey, Maas told Die Welt.

Germany was by far the biggest donor at a two-day aid conference for Syria and refugees in surrounding countries earlier this year, vowing to contribute 1.74 billion euros ($2 billion).