A special EU-Turkey summit meeting in Brussels concluded in an agreement on Sunday (29.11), where Turkey will help stem the flow of migrants to Europe in return for 3 billion euros cash, visa-free travel for Turks to Europe and renewed EU entry talks. In a joint statement, the 28 Heads of State or Government of the European Union, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk agreed with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to activate the EU-Turkey joint Action Plan to deal with the refugee crisis created by the situation in Syria, to bring order into refugee flows and stem irregular migration.
Key elements of the agreement include giving Turkey an additional 3 billion euros in conditional EU aid to create initiatives to keep the 2.2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey -rather than attempt perilous crossings to the EU via the Greek islands-, “re-energizing” Turkey’s accession process to the EU within the existing negotiating framework and providing visa-free travel for Turks to Europe’s Schengen zone within a year, if Turkey manages to tighten its borders and reduce the migrant flows to Europe.
PM Tsipras expressed its satisfaction over the agreement, proposing the next meeting to be held on a Greek island, to show that “EU-Turkey borders should become borders of cooperation”. The PM proposed to proceed with the EU – Turkey Action Plan on a serious and credible relocation program, implementing as well the EU – Turkey and Greece – Turkey readmission agreements. Tsipras supported the loosening of visa requirements for Turkish citizens travelling to the EU and conditioned any progress in Turkey’s EU accession with a solution to the Cyprus issue. He noted that Greece considers Turkey’s accession efforts as an opportunity to proceed with democratic reforms in the neighboring country and pave the way for solving the Greek-Turkish differences and the Cyprus issue.