10:04 GMT18 June 2021
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    Members of the European Union could choose to prevent migrants from the Middle East and North Africa from entering their borders if the refugee agreement between Brussels and Ankara falls through, Professor Philippe de Bruycker told Radio Sputnik.

    "If the deal with Turkey collapses, I am afraid that the only alternative that some [European] governments have in mind is really to close the border of the European Union to the refugees," the expert on European asylum law at the European University Institute's Migration Policy Centre asserted.

    De Bruycker also suggested that some EU countries would go as far as isolating Greece to keep the Balkan refugee route as unattractive as possible.

    "Some member states are ready to isolate Greece from the rest of the European Union" to prevent migrants in the Balkans and in Greece itself from travelling north, the analyst asserted. "This would transform Greece into the EU's refugee camp."

    The fate of the troubled pact has been hanging in the balance ever since it was signed. But the deal's odds have gotten worse since Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced he would step down. The EU saw Davutoglu as the man who would guarantee that the refugee deal was implemented.

    Turkey's strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan has adopted a tougher stance following Davutoglu's resignation. The Turkish president refused to make changes to the country's terrorism laws – this has been one of the EU's demands. If it is met, Turkish citizens could become eligible for visa-free travel to the EU.

    Erdogan's rhetoric has fueled concerns that he could back out of the deal.

    Should this happen, the EU could implement a Plan B that would involve tackling the wave of refugees without Turkey's help, Germany's Bild newspaper reported earlier this week, citing an unnamed official. Under the new plan, Brussels could make arrangements to keep refugees on the Greek islands, preventing them from travelling to the mainland and deporting those, whose applications are rejected, to their home countries.


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    migrant crisis, refugee camp, refugees, visa-free travel, EU-Turkey refugee deal, European Union, Ahmet Davutoglu, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Balkans, Europe, Turkey, Greece
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