Photo: EPA/Georgi Licovski

DRC: Anniversary of EU-Turkey deal calls for hard look at policies

On the occasion of the one year anniversary of the launch of the EU-Turkey Statement, The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) issues a policy brief, which takes a critical look at the trend towards externalization in EU asylum and migration policies, and calls for a thorough assessment of protection and rights implications.


This Saturday, March 18th, marks the one year anniversary of the EU-Turkey Statement – a deal that effectively shifted protection responsibilities to Turkey in exchange of funding and other inducements. Perceived as a success by the EU based on the reduced arrivals to Europe, the deal has inspired a number of new EU policy initiatives and agreements with third countries and the trend towards outsourcing protection responsibilities and migration control to third countries are gaining ground.

Marking the anniversary, the Danish Refugee Council is issuing a policy brief, which looks at the humanitarian implications of the externalization of EU asylum and migration policies.

The global challenge of displacement and migration calls for a unified, comprehensive and long-term response, and DRC welcomes the attention and resources that the EU has dedicated to strengthening the management of displacement and migration. The policy brief however, calls for the EU to look beyond reduced numbers of arrivals, and increased return rates in its assessment of its policies, and to carefully consider the consequences of the new measures from a protection and rights perspective.

The policy brief points to an erosion of refugee protection manifested by a ripple effect of border closures that increasingly pushes people into the hands of smugglers;  restrictive measures at border crossings such as abuse; ill-treatment and push-backs; expedited asylum procedures; and an extensive and increased used of detention, including of children and people with serious vulnerabilities.

“We are seeing a “race to the bottom” where deterrence and containment are increasingly taking precedent, with the reduction of rights and protection of refugees and migrants as a result. The EU should use the occasion of the EU-Turkey Statement anniversary to stop and reflect on both the immediate and long-term consequences and humanitarian implications of externalizing protection responsibilities,” Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council, Andreas Kamm says.

The full policy brief can be read here.