At the last international summit (on 29 November) European leaders and Turkey have achieved an agreement to overcome what they consider to be their “common challenges” on migration. Turkey will receive an initial 3 billion Euro in exchange of “stemming the influx of irregular migrants” and keeping refugees in the country. In addition, the European leaders and Turkey agreed to step up by the end of 2016 the VISA liberalisation process to allow free movement of Turkish citizens in the Schengen zone.
SOLIDAR is seriously concerned by the direction taken by the European leaders of increasing funds for Turkey in return for stopping the migration flow. In particular, given many reported cases of increased violation of human rights perpetrated by the Turkish government towards migrants and Turkish citizens, SOLIDAR is worried about the absence of a clear conditional clause that ties the increased financial support to the proven protection of human rights and freedom of expression in the country.
As we have been advocating for many years, the accession process should be used as a catalyzer for enhancing human rights (in particular economic, social and cultural rights) and improving democracy and the rule of law in candidate countries. Therefore, SOLIDAR calls upon the European institutions to live up to these objectives and not to neglect the social and human-rights dimension in the EU Enlargement process.