Today the Commission set out its contribution to Thursday's European Council and Friday's meeting of the EU Heads of State or Government with the Turkish Prime Minister. In a Communication on the next operational steps in EU-Turkey cooperation in the field of migration, the Commission outlines the legal, operational and financial details of how the deal agreed in principle at the 7 March meeting with Turkey could be feasible.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "The proposals discussed between the EU and Turkish leaders to return all new irregular migrants and asylum seekers arriving in Greece from Turkey, as a temporary and extraordinary measure taking effect as soon as possible, together with resettling Syrians from Turkey to the EU, can break the smugglers' business model once and for all. But this will and can only take place in accordance with the international and EU legal framework." The Commission is also today reporting on the progress made on relocation and resettlement commitments. Today's Report includes recommendations for how to improve the implementation of the temporary emergency relocation scheme and the European resettlement scheme.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "With the humanitarian situation in Greece getting more acute every day, Member States urgently need to deliver on their commitments and prevent a further deterioration of the situation for refugees in Greece."
The College of Commissioners also discussed what longer term measures need to be taken, notably as regards improvements to the current system for deciding which Member State is responsible for dealing with an asylum claim (the Dublin System). Following today's Orientation Debate, the College will set out its strategic vision of possible reform options on 6 April.