Public Affairs Networking
More coverage of the EU-Turkey debate + rise of the AfD

Most member states media report on the steps the EU is taking to tackle the refugee crisis, mostly focusing on the negotiations surrounding the controversial EU-Turkey agreement. In Der Tagesspiel the deal between the EU and Turkey is legally examined. According to MEP Kati Piri in Algemeen Dagblad, Europe is making a big mistake by linking Turkish help with the refugee crisis to the negotiations with Turkey over EU membership.

STO NIMA TIS MERAS and El País write that the European Council meeting on Thursday will focus on the draft agreement with Turkey on the refugee issue, while the European Commission hastened to characterise the plan as absolutely legal. Efimerida Ton Syntakton reports that tension is rising in Brussels in view of Friday’s European Council where the details of the agreement will be defined. Unnamed EU sources from the European Council and Commission stated to the Cyprus News Agency yesterday that Tusk’s visit has more to do with finding a suitable phrasing of an EU-Turkey agreement that will satisfy both sides, rather than pressing for Cypriot consent to the opening of Turkish accession chapters.

El País reports that yesterday Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister José Manuel García-Margallo criticised the terms of the agreement and threatened to block it at the summit late this week if it includes “mass returns” or breached “international and European law” on the right to asylum. An article in the Malta Independent states that Guy Verhofstadt MEP has warned that should a proposed migrant repatriation deal between the European Union and Turkey come to fruition, a new migrant route to Malta will be developed by migrant smugglers. E15 features an interview with State Secretary for European Affairs Tomáš Prouza, who stresses that the EU needs the agreement with Turkey. Delo reports that the planned EU-Turkey deal will first have to go through the Brussels’ red tape and take an acceptable form before receiving the final blessing at the EU summit this weekend. Lietuvos Zinios writes that the European Union leaders still cannot find unanimous solution on migrants and refugees, who continue to come to Europe.

The results of the local elections in Germany also share some of the spotlight. Les Echos and Libération note that despite the populist surge in Germany, Angela Merkel is standing strong in her refugee policy. The Wall Street Journal Europe also reports on this, including Ms Merkel’s statements. In a commentary for Il Sole 24 Ore, Adriana Cerretelli notes that Angela Merkel has stuck to her open-doors policy on refugees because of a “moral imperative,” and is convinced that Germany has the capacity of taking in and integrating refugees. Vecernji List explains that the surge in xenophobic policies in the EU is the result of changes brought about by a perceived impending danger. It notes as well that the tendency has reached Germany as well, marking a decadent phase for democracy.

In an interview with the Kurier Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann calls for clarity from Germany on issues pertaining to asylum policy. Il Messaggero reports that Matteo Renzi said his country would support Angela Merkel at the European Council meeting of March 17 on immigration, if the decisions on Turkey and migrants are the same that were agreed upon. La Stampa reports that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that Angela Merkel’s stance on refugees “is right”, but the results of the German elections rejected a system that is not able to take crucial decisions.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia gets some coverage as well, with the news that almost 2,000 migrants attempted to cross the border between Greece and FYROM, as reported by, Denmark’s TV2, Luxemburger Wort, BBC and RTE Radio. adds that 700 of them actually managed to cross the fence.

Some other outlets include pieces on their national governments’ reactions. In a reply to a BNR reporter, Chief Spokesperson of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas says the Commission has taken note of Bulgaria’s demands to avert the re-routing of the migrant flow through Turkey. A commentary in Der Standard goes over the Austrian ministers’ points of view on the refugee crisis, while Kronen Zeitung reports confirmation that Austria plans to enhance controls at the Brenner border because of the crisis.



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