EU and Turkey to hold summit on migrant crisis in coming weeks

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The European Union will hold a summit on the migrant crisis with Turkey in the coming weeks, but a date has not been set yet, EU leaders said on Thursday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the meeting could be held at the end of November or the start of December, while European Council President Donald Tusk said that no date had been fixed yet, but that the summit could be held already this year.

“A summit has been agreed with Turkey and will most likely be held on Sunday afternoon, November 29,” Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic told reporters after an informal summit of EU leaders in Valletta, the capital of Malta.

Milanovic said that the summit had been an opportunity to exchange opinions on how to tackle the migrant crisis. “Some, like the Italians, want to give priority to Africa, but that’s a chronic problem. This, however, is an acute problem and should be discussed with Turkey. I said that we should be very charming to them because otherwise this will never stop.”

Milanovic said that tighter controls on the external and internal borders of the Schengen area immediately caused a counter-reaction in neighbouring countries. “That immediately causes a counter-reaction in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, The Hague. Slovenia is putting up a fence but only around the border crossings. Croatia can always erect a fence and solve its problem, but that’s not a solution.”

Asked to comment on the statement by the Slovenian Foreign Ministry that the fence they were putting up was not on the territory of Croatia but Slovenia, Milanovic said that that was irrelevant. “It’s not important whether the fence runs one metre this way or that away, we’ll deal with that. What is important is that that’s not a solution. Slovenia cannot fence itself in,” he added.

Milanovic said that a solution should be sought on the Greece-Turkey border. “The Turks will have to do it on their own, their gendarmerie and coast guard, which for some reason haven’t been doing it for a while,” he said, adding that Croatia had already sent a police unit to that border to help and could send more.

The European Commission informed the EU leaders on the progress of negotiations with Turkey. The Commission proposed providing at least 3 billion euros to Turkey to assist it in taking care of Syrian and Iraqi migrants on its territory. Of that amount, 500 million would be ensured from the EU budget, while the rest should be secured by the member states.

(Hina)

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