No progress at EU Summit on refugee crisis; Turkey asks for 20bln!

7 March 2016
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After the official dinner and the EU leaders’ customary family photo, the crucial Summit meeting in Brussels with Turkey on the refugee crisis is approaching.

A leaked draft, which had been approved by the EU member-states, made reference to ‘closed borders’ on the Greek-FYROM line. A Greek government source close to Alexis Tsipras had said earlier that the closing of the borders was inevitable. However, following the change in rhetoric it seems climate is a little more positive for the Greek side.

Meanwhile a scheduled joint press conference at the start of the meeting between Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu with European Council President Donald Tusk was put off until after the completion of the meeting. According to Reuters, the Turkish side was willing to take in all non-Syrian economic migrants into to Turkey and toughen its internal border control, if it was given 20bln Euros.

According to ‘Politico’ Turkey has tabled 4 new conditions to the EU. These include an increase in money earmarked for the creation of refugee centers; a free visa status for Turkish citizens entering the EU; an acceleration of talks regarding the Turkey’s EU accession; and a repeat of talks for the relocation of refugees.

The general confusion is evident by the fact that Angela Merkel disagreed with the possible wording of ‘a closed Balkan route’, while French President Francois Hollande insisted that route would be closing.

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