Spain backtracks on EU-Turkey refugees deal, says collective expulsions contrary to international law

Spain's Acting Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo. Photo: Jaime Villanueva / El País
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• EU responds to Spain’s position with re-assertion of ‘legality’ of accord •

Following pressure from aid agencies, human rights groups and opposition political parties, Spain’s government has reveresd its initial support of a draft deal between the EU and Turkey to expel refugees and migrants en masse to camps inside Turkey, saying it cannot support any solution to the crisis that does not include individual processing of asylum claims in accordance with international treaties on refugees and human rights.

Speaking in Brussels on Monday, Spain’s acting Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo backtracked on initially positive comments by acting President Mariano Rajoy last week, telling reporters that Spain “radically opposes any kind of collective expulsion [and] asks for individual treatment and the suspension of deportations until a resolution on this matter is reached.” Late Monday, the EU responded to García-Margallo’s comments with a statement re-asserting the legality of the EU-Turkey accord.

García-Margallo’s clarification of Spain’s position follows demands by Spain’s opposition parties to have Rajoy appear before Congress to explain the EU-Turkey draft agreement, as well as the issuance of an internal report from Spain’s Justice Ministry advising that prior consultation with Congress would be needed for Spain to ratify the EU deal for the return of the refugees to Turkey.

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