EU-Turkey Summit to Seek Finalization of Migrant Crisis Deal

EU | March 17, 2016, Thursday // 13:32|  views

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L), EU Council President Donald Tusk (R) and EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker (C) arrive for a news conference at the end of an extraordinary summit of EUleaders with Turkey in Brussels, Belgium, March 08

Prime Ministers of EU member states and Turkey are gathering for a two-day summit bringing together the European Council and Turkey.

The summit is set to take place Thursday and Friday, with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to join the second day.

Last week EU leaders and Turkey agreed on the broad principles of a deal aimed at curbing the migrant inflow into Europe.

If a deal is approved, Turkey will agree to have sent back all to its territory all the migrants who arrive in Greece.

One Syrian relocated in Turkey will be relocated in return for each Syrian migrant sent back.

Turkey's demands last week (with several added to a list it had presented prior to the meeting) included a visa-free regime starting June (instead of October), doubling the financial aid it will be granted for accommodation and food for refugees (it seeks EUR 6 B, up from its previous demand for EUR 3 B), and the opening of several EU accession chapters.

However, it is not clear whether Cyprus will agree to have the chapters unlocked.

Sofia has also raised objections, suggesting visa liberalization should be tied to conditions such as efficient border control applied by Turkey on its frontiers with both Bulgaria and Greece.

Bulgarian authorities also demand that the final version of any agreement with Turkey should include a commitment to step up security measures on the Bulgaria-Turkey border, making sure no alternative route for migrants will be opened up through the Southeastern European nation which last year (unlike in 2013) was not in the way of the vast majority of migrants.

EU officials said earlier this week they were taking into account the concerns of Sofia and Nicosia.

Ahead of the meeting, EU Council President Donald Tusk warned on Thursday that the agreement "must be acceptable to all 28 Member States, no matter big or small."

International media outlets reported on Thursday that the EU was inclined to offer much less to Turkey than it had requested.

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Tags: Ahmet Davutoglu, turkey, EU, migrant crisis, migrants, refugees, greece, turkey, Bulgaria, Cyprus


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