Cyprus may veto EU deal on refugees as Turkey insists on EU entry talks

A new threat to an agreement on migrants with Turkey has arisen with Cyprus’ Foreign Minister saying they may veto any deal when EU leaders meet next week in Brussels.
Cyprus may veto EU deal on refugees as Turkey insists on EU entry talks

Just half the divided island is part of the EU and despite recent optimism that they would agree a deal with the Turkish part, they are now firing a warning shot about the pending migrant agreement.

There was hope during Monday’s emergency meeting with Turkey that the Cypriot issues would not intervene, but now Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said that they may maintain their long-time objection to the reopening of negotiations on Turkish membership.

Some argue that an agreement on opening discussions on chapters including law and justice, energy and security policy is not necessary to conclude the agreement that Turkey will take back all migrants that cross its borders into the EU.

After several years of a cooling of the Turkish interest under the then prime minister and now President Recep Erdogan, Turkey is now insisting that resumption of negotiations is central to the migrant deal, and want six chapters opened — five of which Cyprus has vetoed in the past.

Just 14 of the 33 chapters have been opened over the past decade.

A Cypriot veto will not suit several countries battling with populist anti-migrant sentiment.

Elections in three German states tomorrow could increase pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel where she is fighting off attacks on her migrants policy that has seen 1.2m refugees arrive over the past few years.

The right wing anti- foreigner AfD is expected to come third in Saxony-Anhalt while the Greens are expected to replace Ms Merkel’s CDU as the number party in their coalition.

The Socialists are in a run off against the CDU in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Greece is expected to begin moving 14,000 migrants stranded at the Macedonian border since Balkan countries shut their borders.

They will also need to accommodate migrants on the islands of Kos and Lesbos through returning those not fulfilling asylum criteria.

The European Commission is also trying to relocate 160,000 to other EU countries agreed last year, but so far just over 800 have been moved to other member states so far.

Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, said that at least 6,000 will need to be relocated a month, while any newcomers, including Syrians, coming through Turkey will be returned under the planned agreement with Ankara.

However apart from getting Cyprus to agree to, or at least keep silent, on reopening accession chapters with Turkey, the Turkish and Greek parliaments may have to pass new laws to accommodate the migrant deal, Commission president Jean Claude Juncker has said.

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