In typical EU fashion, where everything seems to get resolved at at the last minute, with the most drama possible, Turkey and the EU have supposedly reached a deal on the migration crisis.

If the deal really does fly, agreed quotas will fill up quickly. Plenty of other loose ends remain as well.

For details, let’s tune into the Financial Times report EU and Turkey Reach Deal to Return Migrants.

After two days of summit talks in Brussels, European Council president Donald Tusk and Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu reached an agreement whereby Ankara will receive €6bn in aid and will have its attempt to join the EU reopened.

According to a draft of the EU’s position seen by the Financial Times, the bloc calls on Turkey to offer a “commitment that migrants returned to Turkey will be protected in accordance with the relevant international standards”. Ankara is resisting any such formal legal changes, which EU officials fear would blow a hole in the legal basis for the deal.

[Mish comment: How can a deal be reached when Turkey is resisting changes that EU requires?]

As part of the package, the EU will also reopen accession talks with Turkey over its membership of the bloc, which had been in stasis for nearly a decade. Ankara’s demands include starting to open a part of the accession talks — the so-called chapter 33, which covers budget spending — that was frozen by France in 2007.

This avoids the need to press Cyprus to lift its veto on five chapters demanded by Ankara, a step Nicosia warned would imperil its government and undermine separate peace talks to unite the divided island.

[Mish comment: Once again this is peculiar. Somehow, France lifting a requirement Turkey demands negates the need for Cyprus to lift a totally different set of requirements that Turkey also demands.]

In the run-up to the deal, hardline officials had called for countries to set an immediate deadline for starting mass returns to Turkey, which will lead to tough talks this afternoon.

[Mish comment: How can a deal be reached, if there are tough talks this afternoon?]

EU leaders agreed that they would resettle up to 72,000 refugees from Turkey under a controversial “one-for-one” scheme, whereby Ankara would be able to send a Syrian refugee directly into Europe for each one it accepts back from Greece. This plan would be “reviewed” once this limit was reached, with an alliance of central and eastern European countries demanding that it cease once this limit is reached.

Failure Postponed

The last paragraph above is key to understanding the overall silliness of the plan, and why it cannot work.

Let’s first discuss the outright silliness.

  • Greece will send 72,000 Syrians back to Turkey
  • Turkey will send 72,000 Syrians back to the EU

Pray tell, why bother moving 72,000 Syrians from Greece to Turkey when Turkey will do nothing more than shuffle them back to the EU? Why not just move 72,000 Syrians from Greece to the EU?

The circularity of this nonsense is as obvious as it is typical of EU deals reached in desperation.

Could it be that no EU countries are willing to take those 72,000 refugees?

The “need to review” portion explains why the plan is bound to fail. As soon as 72,000 Syrians are shuffled from Greece to Turkey, then from Turkey back to the EU a review will be necessary.

Meanwhile, some 2,000 refugees a week or more pour into Turkey from Syria.

Along the lines of my previous question, can we please have an accounting? How many refugees will France take? Germany? Austria? Hungary?

There is no practical substance to the deal. Nor was there intended to be any. Turkey is going to demand still more money as soon as the 72,000 limit has been reached.

Actually, Turkey will start demanding money before that unless there is some real movement of 72,000 from Turkey to the EU.

Either way, blackmail of the EU by Turkey will soon resume in earnest.

Shell Game Shuffle

Here’s the “real” deal.

This deal is nothing more than shell game shuffle specifically designed so Germany and the EU can lie about the problem being fixed, in hopes the problem goes away by the time 72,000 refugees are shuffled from Greece to Turkey then back to the EU.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock