EU, Turkey agree on 3 bln euro deal on migrants

A Syrian refugee carries her child into Macedonia after crossing the border from Greece during a rain storm near the Greek village of Idomeni. (Reuters)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed after an EU-Turkey summit on Sunday that the European Union has offered Ankara three billion euros ($3.2-billion) to help Syrian refugees in Turkey in return for Turkish help in stemming migrant flows.

Merkel also confirmed that the EU would open Chapter 17 of Turkey’s accession negotiations with Turkey this year and would speed up visa-free travel for Turks if existing conditions are met.

The chancellor said a meeting she held with some other EU leaders in the hours before the Brussels summit had discussed resettling some Syrian refugees from Turkey directly to their countries but no figures had been discussed.

Meanwhile, EU president Donald Tusk told a press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after the summit in Brussels that “our agreement sets out a clear plan for the timely re-establishment of order at our shared frontier. We will also step up our assistance to Syrian refugees in Turkey through a new refugee facility of three billion euros.”

The Turkish premier also slammed the “failure” of the U.N. system to deal with Syria crisis when he said “we are paying the price of the failure of the U.N. system not to solve the problem of the Syrian crisis at the earlier stages of the crisis.”

Speaking alongside EU leaders, Davotoglu said Turkey has taken in 2 million to 2.2 million refugees.

(With AFP, Reuters and AP)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49