Agreement envisages better patrols on borders between Greece and Turkey
European Union leaders sought member-state approval of a deal with Turkey that would have Ankara take steps to cut the flow of migrants into Europe in exchange for €3 billion ($3.18 billion) and help with its bid to join the 28-nation bloc.
“After many weeks of hard work…we have reached an agreement which I hope will be accepted by all parties concerned,” European Council President Donald Tusk said before a meeting in Brussels. Sunday’s meeting will “re-energize” often strained ties between the EU and Turkey, Mr. Tusk said.
At the heart of the proposed migration deal is Turkey’s Turkey’s promises of tightening its border controls in exchange for some €3 billion ($3.19 billion) in cash and other benefits from the EU. Those include speeding up work on Turkey’s EU membership bid and a new push to help Ankara win visa-free access to the bloc for its citizens.
The EU has been pressing Turkey to tighten controls on its borders with Greece for some time. Formal talks started in September.
Under the deal, Turkey would toughen its patrols in the Aegean Sea and on the land borders with Greece and Bulgaria, as well as cracking down on human-trafficking gangs. Ankara would agree to take back to Turkey migrants whose asylum claims are denied by EU countries.
Migrants and refugees have crossed the sea from Turkey into Greece in their thousands in recent months, making Greece’s eastern islands one of the main entry points for the biggest influx of migrants since the end of World War II. Already this year, more than 700,000 migrants, mainly Syrian, have arrived in the EU via Turkey, according to the International Organization of Migration.
The EU has still to work out how to provide financial support for Turkey.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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