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Greece to revisit 2016 EU-Turkey migration pact

Greece to revisit 2016 EU-Turkey migration pact
2 min read
24 September, 2023
Greek Immigration Minister, Dimitris Keridis, announces plans to amend the 2016 migration pact between the European Union and Turkey.
Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum Dimitris Kairidis delivers a speech during the final day of Policy Statements of the new Greek Government, at the Greek Parliament, in Athens, on July 7, 2023 [Getty Images]

Greece is revisiting the 2016 migration pact signed between the European Union and Turkey, its immigration minister, Dimitris Keridis, has said.

Keridis described the situation as primarily a European-Turkish matter in a statement to the official television on Saturday.

"The agreement will primarily be between Europe and Turkey," he said, adding that the aim was to amend the 2016 agreement, expanding its scope at Greece's initiative, as it holds the greatest interest.

Keridis referred to Greece’s frontline position as the primary destination for irregular migrants attempting to enter Europe.

The issue will be further discussed in a meeting between senior Greek and Turkish officials, scheduled for the 7th of December in Thessaloniki. 

Progress in the bilateral discussions between the two countries was credited to a meeting in New York, where Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened earlier this week.

In an attempt to manage the migration influx, especially after the Syrian War, an agreement known as the "EU-Turkey deal" was signed in March 2016, which Keridis is keen to rejuvenate.

Under this deal, Turkey committed to curbing the flow of irregular migrants from its shores to the Greek islands. However, those who still managed to reach the Greek islands could be returned to Turkey.

The EU and Turkey worked out a one-for-one arrangement; for every Syrian sent back to Turkey, a Syrian refugee already in Turkey would be offered a new home in an EU country. 

In return for Turkey's commitment, the EU extended an aid package, amounting to €6 billion, for Turkey, intended to elevate the living conditions of the vast number of refugees within its borders.

An added incentive for Ankara was the proposal of visa-free travel for its citizens, enhancing Turkish-EU relations.