BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on Europe’s response to the influx of refugees (all times local):
The European Union says its agreement with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants is producing results but more remains to be done.
Top EU migration official Dmitris Avramopoulos said Wednesday that “we have seen some positive progress,” including the return of 462 migrants from the Greek islands to Turkey since March 20.
But he added: “Work still has to be done. Both sides need to deliver.”
Human rights group Amnesty International said the results are nothing to be proud of.
Iverna McGowan, head of Amnesty’s EU office, said “the results are thousands of people stranded in dire conditions in Greece, refugees being forced back across Turkey’s border with Syria, and Syrians being at risk of deportation from Greece to Turkey.”
A Turkish official says a deal with the European Union to curb illegal migration has led to a “sharp decline in irregular crossings.”
Speaking to journalists in Istanbul, the official said Wednesday some 462 migrants of various nationalities had been sent from the Greek islands back to Turkey. In line with the agreement, 508 Syrians who were living in Turkish refugee camps have been relocated to Europe since April 1.
The EU has agreed to receive one Syrian refugee from Turkey for each Syrian that Greece sends to Turkey.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly on the issue.
More than 3,400 migrants died or were recorded as missing as they tried to cross borders around the globe in this year’s first five months — over 80 percent of them trying to reach Europe by sea, the International Organization for Migration said Wednesday.
The number is 12 percent above the 2,780 deaths or disappearances recorded during the same period in 2015. Over the whole of last year, the IOM estimated Wednesday that 5,400 migrants died or were reported missing worldwide.