Migration: MEPs to assess cooperation with Turkey and return policy

The results of the EU’s one-year-old deal with Turkey to manage refugee and migration flows will be assessed by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs and EU Commission officials this afternoon. The Commission will also report to the committee on the financial aid so far provided to Turkey to assist refugees.

Mr Maarten Verwey, appointed by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to coordinate the implementation of the deal, will present the fifth progress report on the cooperation with Ankara since the signature of the EU-Turkey statement, on 18 March 2016. The debate will begin at 14.00.

Through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, the EU pledged at the end of 2015 to mobilise €3 billion for 2016-2017 to assist Syrian refugees and asylum-seekers in the country (€1 billion from the EU budget, €2 billion from member states).

According to Commission data, by the end of February 2017, €2.2 billion had already been allocated, half the budget (€1.5 billion) already committed to contracts and 750 million actually disbursed.

Application of the Return Directive

In a separate debate starting at 15.45, MEPs will discuss recent proposals to expedite the return of migrants not entitled to refugee status.

To make EU return policy “more effective”, the European Commission wants member states to use all the legal instruments at their disposal, including extending the maximum detention period to 18 months, as in many countries it is significantly shorter than allowed by the Return Directive of 2008.