In last minute developments Hungary has vetoed the draft plan, according to a tweet posted by the country’s PM Viktor Orban.
The Visengrad states argue that Turkey is an unsafe country, therefore refugees should not be relocated there from Greece and back into the EU. Greek PM Alexcis Tsipras said their stance was hypocritical to not receive any Syrian, Afghan and other migrants.
According to the latest developments in Brussels, the so called Visegrad states (Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic) are vehemently opposing a proposed plan that seems to have the approval all other EU member states, according to which all illegal immigrants and refugees Visegrad ill be relocated from Greece to Turkey and in turn proportionately relocated across all the EU countries. Negotiations are still continuing between the EU member states on the final points to be included in the joint statement, a they wish to reach an agreement-proposal to Turkey before the night dinner.
According to a draft statement seen by Reuters the key elements are as follows:
- Turkey to readmit all “irregular”migrants crossing into Greek islands from Turkey;
- For every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, one Syrian refugee will be resettled from Turkey to the EU member states;
- The EU will completely evacuate refugees from the Greek islands, readmitting only those who crossed into the islands after a date to be determined;
- The EU will accelerate the lifting of visa requirements for Turkish citizens in the Schengen zone, so that this takes place, at the latest, by the end of June 2016;
- The EU and Turkey will cooperate in any joint endeavours to establish humanitarian safe areas inside Syria;
- The EU will provide Turkey with an extra 3bn Euros (on top of the 3bn Euros already made available) to help Turkey deal with Syrian refugees through to the end of 2018.
Here is the draft points
Reuters clarified that the 20bln Euro Turkish demand was a mistake. Greek PM Alexis Tsipras reportedly reacted strongly against the intentions by EU leaders to concede to all the Turkish demands.
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.