EU Council President calls on Ankara to reduce influx of refugees

EU Council President calls on Ankara to reduce influx of refugees

European Council President Donald Tusk believes that an agreement with Turkey with regard to the refugee crisis will make sense if Ankara reduces effectively the influx of refugees and warns that concessions to this candidate country will only be justified when this objective is achieved.

In his letter to EU leaders on the forthcoming European Council, he said “Our natural reaction was to seek solutions to the refugee crisis, not only internally, but also by addressing the root causes through cooperation with the countries of origin and transit. As a result, the EU has engaged in an intensive dialogue with Turkish leaders as the biggest transit country. The goal of my talks in Ankara was to stem the wave of refugees to Europe. An agreement with Turkey makes sense if it effectively reduces the inflow of refugees. Concessions will only be justified when this goal is achieved.”

The situation in the region is difficult and politically very complex, he points out, saying that “Turkey is calling on us to support the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria, whereas Russia -increasingly engaged in Syria – is openly rejecting this idea.”

EU strengthened cooperation with the region is indispensable, he stresses, but “it will be a long march. I propose that we discuss our common approach to Turkey and Syria over dinner.”

Tusk tells EU leaders that the Union must be ready for spring and the threat of bigger waves flowing to Europe.

“Let us be clear about one thing. The exceptionally easy access to Europe is one of the main pull factors. In this context we should consider the future of the Dublin system, which is now in force – whether to keep it as it is or to look for alternatives, the specific role of hotspots in light of different opinions as to their character and purpose and the strengthening of our external borders, including a possible EU border guard,” he warns.

The President of the European Parliament will join EU leaders at the beginning of the meeting on Thursday afternoon. After the exchange the first session will start in order to discuss migration and to finalise conclusions. During this session, leaders will take stock of the next steps with regard to the UK referendum on its membership of the EU, and confirm their commitment towards seeking viable solutions.

French President Hollande will raise the issue of the Paris COP 21 preparations with a view to making it a European and global success. Then, the work on the report on the future of the EMU will be reviewed.

Discussions will continue over dinner with the international aspects of the migratory crisis and there will be a brief update on the most recent meeting of the Normandy Format.
CNA MM/2015