The EU and Turkey agreed on the endeavor to end the irregular migration from Turkey to the EU, so as to break the business model of the smugglers and avoid putting the lives of migrants at risk.

Therefore, all new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey into the Greek islands as from March 20, 2016 are to be returned to Turkey, and this will take place in full accordance with EU and international law, according to a joint statement of the two parties.

“It will be a temporary and extraordinary measure which is necessary to end the human suffering and restore public order,” emphasized the statement.

Moreover, the two parties agreed that for every Syrian being returned to Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian would be resettled from Turkey to the EU.

Turkey vowed it would take all necessary measures to prevent new sea or land routes for illegal migration opening from Turkey to the EU, and would cooperate with neighboring states as well as the EU to this effect.

They also agreed to activate a voluntary humanitarian admission scheme once irregular crossings between Turkey and the EU end or at least have been substantially and sustainably reduced.

In return, the EU gave its consent to fulfil the visa liberalization roadmap, with a view to lifting the visa requirements for Turkish citizens at the latest by the end of June 2016.

The EU promised to further speed up the disbursement of the initially allocated 3 billion euros (3.38 billion U.S. dollars) in aid funds for Turkey to handle the migrant crisis and ensure the funding of further projects for persons under temporary protection identified with swift input from Turkey before the end of March.

The bloc said it would also mobilize additional funding of an additional 3 billion euros up to the end of 2018.

The EU and Turkey reconfirmed their commitment to re-energize and accelerate Turkey’s EU accession process during the Netherlands presidency, which ends June 30 of this year.

Turkey on March 7 presented to Brussels new proposals to tackle the migration crisis, asking for extra financial aid, the speeding up of its EU membership negotiation process, and a more liberalized visa scheme in exchange.

The EU delayed the decision to the summit.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker appointed Maarten Verwey, the former director-general of the European Commission’s Structural Reform Support Service, to act as the EU coordinator to implement the EU-Turkey statement. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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