Border agency Frontex believes ‘EU Turkey deal’ is shaky

Via The Sofia Globe (post from 9th April) – An internal evaluation by Frontex shows that the so-called “E.U. Turkey Deal” might fail. Also, the European border agency fears, terrorists might enter the European Union, increasingly. This is what it says in a Frontex analysis about challenges on migration for 2017.

In the evaluation, the agency came to the conclusion that there have been substantial changes inside the Turkish authorities dealing with border security, including the coast guard. The German publication “Welt am Sonntag” reports, those authorities had been monitored since the attempted coup in July of 2016.

Frontex believes the disruptions resulting from that attempt might “influence the ability of the Turkish authorities to abide by the agreement”, it says in today’s “Welt am Sonntag” article on the matter.

So far, governments on the Balkans, including the one in Sofia, had said the arguments between the Turkish leadership and E.U. governments could lead to a breach of the agreement. As recently as in mid-March, the head of the Bulgarian caretaker government, Prime Minister Ognyan Gerdzhikov, had said the country was preparing for an “increased flow of migrants within days”. That statement was based on threats voiced in Ankara, which tuned out to be empty.

The Frontex evaluation paints a different picture. The border agency is not worried about threats from Ankara that much, but rather about the stability of the Turkish border police and the coast guard. In the pompous language preferred in Brussels, it sounds a little different: The disruptions within Turkish authorities “raise questions about the future viability of the deal”.

There is another problem: Frontex fears terrorists might get into the European Union along with the refugees, according to “Welt am Sonntag”. The border agency came to the conclusion that “the exact identification of a large number of migrants without I.D. documents remains an important challenge”. Translated into everday English, this means anyone, including Islamist terrorists, might still enter the E.U. and nobody will notice until it is too late.

Frontex believes the recent defeats ISIS experienced on the battle field might lead to a return of many of its combattants to Europe. Therefore, “the role of the border authorities, regarding the monitoring of their travel movements will become more important”. This means, Frontex is telling the border police in countries located at the southern edge of the E.U., mainly Bulgaria, Greece, and Italy, to watch it.

The article was published in The Sofia Globe