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EU warned of Turkey border ‘risks’ 1 août 2011

Posted by Acturca in EU / UE, Immigration, South East Europe / Europe du Sud-Est, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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Financial Times (UK) Monday, August 1, 2011, p. 4

By Helen Warrell in London

Turkey’s accession to the European Union would pose serious risks to the security of the EU external border and make member states more vulnerable to organised crime, warn a group of UK parliamentarians.

The research by a cross-party committee of British MPs raises « real concerns » about extending the EU border as far as Iran, Iraq and Syria in the event of Turkey’s membership. Negotiations over Turkey’s accession are all but frozen.

However, the research in the UK – traditionally a staunch supporter of Turkey’s accession – aims to inform the talks and urges member states to take pre-emptive action on immigration and security issues.

It comes at a time when popular concerns about immigration are threatening Europe’s commitment to border-free travel.

A chief complaint in France and Italy, in particular, is that once illegal immigrants pierce a part of the EU’s external border – even if it is far away – they can then move easily throughout the bloc.

At their behest, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, is currently drafting a proposal to overhaul the Schengen agreement on border-free travel.

One of its main provisions would allow national governments to reinstate internal EU borders in extreme circumstances.

The land border between Greece and Turkey already represents the main loophole for irregular immigration to the EU, the MPs say.

They suggest amending EU legislation to allow more effective collaboration between EU and Turkish border agencies and boosting co-operation on law enforcement issues.

The MPs’ report also draws attention to Turkey’s role as a « key nexus point » for the transit of illegal immigrants to the EU by criminal groups.

It concluded, however, that the risks posed by organised crime were « considerably outweighed » by the benefits of accession, given that Turkey would have to meet higher standards of crime fighting and international co-operation if it attained membership.

Heather Grabbe, director of the Brussels-based Open Society Institute and previously a senior adviser on Turkey to the EU’s enlargement commissioner, questioned the report’s timing.

« Turkey’s accession negotiations are currently stalled and it’s impossible to say when it might join or indeed if it ever will, » she said. « The parameters of accession are completely unknown. »

Additional reporting by Joshua Chaffin in Brussels

Report: Implications for the Justice and Home Affairs area of the accession of Turkey to the European Union




1. Acturca - 5 août 2011

Anadolu Agency (Turkey)

August 2, 2011, Ankara


Turkey has defied a British report over the EU-hopeful country’s performance in struggling irregular migration and border security, rejecting it as « an understatement of Turkey’s efforts and constructive cooperation. »

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has conveyed to his British counterpart William Hague Turkey’s uneasiness over the report, which was made public on Monday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

« The report underestimates concrete progress our country has made in EU harmonization in justice and internal affairs as well as measures it has taken against irregular migration. The report also fails to give a fair account of our constructive cooperation in a way that it could cause misunderstandings and concerns over our EU accession bid, » the statement said.

The statement said Turkey has never been a source country for irregular migration, adding, « as a transit country like certain EU countries, it is negatively effected by irregular migration. »

« The report’s insinuation that Turkey could become a source country is above all else contrary to the facts of today. Turkey uses all means and resources in its power to prevent irregular migration and human smuggling, » the statement said.

The statement also criticizes the EU for rejecting to open the policy chapter in Turkey’s negotiations on « Justice, Freedoms and Security, » saying that the Union’s failure held Turkey back from full cooperation with European institutions such as the Europol and Frontex.

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