Refugee congestion on the Turkish-Greek border – is Corona a disaster?

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In view of the spread of the corona virus, the Council of Experts of German Foundations for Integration and Migration (SVR) warns of a “humanitarian catastrophe” on the Greek islands. In a position paper published on Tuesday, the SVR criticized Europe’s asylum policy, which was “threatened by the corona pandemic”.

Germany and other European countries should accept vulnerable people from Greece as a “coalition of the willing”, the document says.

“After the developments on the Greek-Turkish border, there are fears that European migration and asylum policies will again face in the foreseeable future with escalations for which it has so far not been adequately prepared structurally,” writes the SVR.

Many migrants had gathered in the no man’s land between the Turkish and Greek borders in the past few weeks after the Turkish government declared that the border to Greece was open. Greek security forces, on the other hand, sometimes used violence to repel people.

The current crises showed the need for fundamental reform, the experts conclude. The asylum procedure and the services for asylum seekers in the EU countries would have to be more uniform. The currently large differences offer incentives to move to other countries in violation of the rules. It would be better to take into account the wishes of those affected, but also to cut social benefits if asylum seekers refuse to return to the state responsible for them.

Recognized refugees could then gradually get more freedom of movement rights. Routes to regular migration to Europe should be expanded – this is also important to cover the need for skilled workers.

ls / tm / dpa

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