The April 4 target for the start of a 1:1 resettlement scheme of refugees from Turkey remains, European Commission spokesperson for migration issues Natasha Bertaud said. On April 4, she explained, the EU will begin returns of asylum seekers whose applications have not been accepted and can receive protection in Turkey, at the same time as a programme for the resettlement of Syrian refugees from Turkey to the EU.
Bertaud did not go into the operation’s practical details, noting only that Greek and Turkish authorities were working together closely, with the assistance of EU coordinator for the refugee crisis Maarten Verwey. European Commissioner for Migration Policy Dimitris Avramopoulos and Verwey will visit Ankara on April 3, she added.
With respect to the legislation that needs to be passed in order for asylum seekers to be returned to Turkey, Bertaud said that Greece was expected to pass this over the next few days. Turkey, on its part, must also pass the relevant legislation by April 4 and the visit by Avramopoulos to Ankara aimed to facilitate this, she added.
Bertaud underlined, however, that Turkey’s policy regarding refugees must be fully compatible with international standards on human rights.