Spiegel: Chaos on Greek Islands if Turkey-EU Deal Collapses

police-migrantsThere will be chaos on Greek islands as the overcrowded migrant registration centers will collapse if the European Union-Turkey stops being in effect, a Spiegel magazine report says.

The German magazine quotes European Stability Initiative Chairman Gerald Knaus, the mastermind behind the EU-Turkey deal, who said that the agreement will collapse if Europe doesn’t take immediate measures.

Knaus said that the overcrowded hot spots are about to burst and chaos will ensue. He also pointed out that the Greek government is sending the wrong message to people smugglers when saying that migrants from the islands will be transferred to hospitality structures on the mainland.

The report says that in August and September 6,527 refugees crossed the Aegean, twice as many as in May and June. The coup attempt in Turkey in July has made many refugees want to move from Turkey because they cannot find jobs now. Also, the lack of personnel has made patrols across the Turkish shores far less frequent and effective.

On the Greek islands close to Turkey, there are currently 15,000 refugees and migrants, while the existing structures can only accommodate half that number. Tension is rising and fights between migrants or between migrants and local residents are frequent.

The Greek government is facing a dilemma, because they can no longer ignore the chaos on the islands, the report continues.

“If Alexis Tsipras meets his recent promise, to move large numbers of refugees on the mainland, this would be a message to smugglers in Turkey that the path of the Aegean has reopened,” Knaus said. “If the EU does not do something quickly, the refugee agreement will ‘die’ in a few months,” Knaus warned.

The ESI chairman appears pessimistic in the case the agreement collapses, saying that hundreds of thousands of refugees will arrive in Greece by sea and the northern border fences. “The Balkans will be converted into a battlefield for refugees, smugglers, border guards and soldiers. This could be the end of the European asylum policy,” Knaus said.