Migration & Integration Migration policy Report

Trapped In Greece: One Year After The EU Turkey Agreement

A report by the Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR)

Matthew Peoples

On 26 May 2017, the Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR) published a report on the impact of the agreement reached last year by the European Union and Turkey in order to stop irregular migration from Turkey. Irene Wolf, contributor of the Thinking Lab on Migration & Integration, is part of the team that worked on this report, which states that this agreement has turned Greece into a large refugee camp where effective protection cannot be guaranteed.

In its most recent report, the CEAR (the Spanish Commission for Refugees) explored the impact that the agreement between the EU and Turkey has had so far. A CEAR team assessed the living conditions of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees at the detention centres in Greece. Their research was based on observations made onsite, on interviews conducted with different organisations involved and with asylum seekers.

The conclusion of the report is disillusioning. The agreement has had a negative impact on the rights of incoming people. As the route from Turkey to Greece as well as the route through the Balkan countries are closed, migrants and refugees are forced to use more dangerous routes. Not only have the number of deaths increased since the closure of these routes, but migrants have also become more vulnerable to human trafficking.

If people fleeing their country manage to safely arrive in Greece, they are very likely to be detained in closed reception and identification centres. What is more, the number of people suffering on a psychological level is increasing, as they are continuously exposed to a high degree of uncertainty and insecurity.

The full report is available here in English.

The Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR) is a non-profit organization which works with citizens to defend the right to asylum. Irene Wolff is Project Officer at the Advocacy Department of the CEAR and a contributor of the Thinking Lab on Migration & Integration for Dialogue on Europe.