The European Union has agreed to work for a deal with Turkey to defuse the migrant crisis by an EU summit at the end of next week, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said today after a Turkey-EU meeting in Brussels.
“President of #EUCO (Donald Tusk) will take forward the proposals and work out the details with the Turkish Side before the March #EUCO,” Bettel said in a tweet, referring to the European Council summit.
Ankara is seeking an extra three billion euros (USD 3.3 billion) in aid, plus a refugee swap under which the EU would resettle one Syrian refugee from Turkey in exchange for every Syrian refugee that Turkey takes back from the overstretched Greek islands.
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Under the last-minute proposals tabled by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the bloc would also bring forward visa-free travel for Turks to June, and speed up the country’s long-stalled EU membership bid.
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker’s top aide Martyn Selmayr tweeted: “Breakthrough with Turkey. And clear commitment to go back to Schengen by the end of the year.”
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Juncker has expressed fears that a series of border closures to stop migrants entering Europe has endangered the passport-free Schengen zone, which is a pillar of unity and freedom.
Mina Andreeva, a spokeswoman for Juncker, tweeted that Juncker and Tusk agreed with Davutoglu “on main principles for jointly managing the refugee crisis.”