EU to push Turkey to take back refugees on 'large-scale'

European Union's 28 leaders are pinning much of their hopes for reducing the chaos on new commitments from Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

EU to push Turkey to take back refugees on 'large-scale'

World Bulletin / News Desk

European leaders will push Turkey at a summit on Monday to agree to "large-scale" deportations of economic refugees from Greece, as EU chief Donald Tusk says he sees the first hints of a resolution to the refugee crisis.

With a fresh surge expected in the warmer spring weather, the European Union's 28 leaders are pinning much of their hopes for reducing the chaos on new commitments from Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

The EU will also push Ankara to drastically reduce the huge flow of refugees into Europe, as Turkey is the launch pad for most of the more than one million refugees who have come to the continent since early 2015.

On Saturday, European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramapoulos said Greece -- already struggling with a buildup of 30,000 refugees -- was expected to receive "another 100,000" by the end of March.

But lingering tensions flared when Turkish police seized an opposition newspaper at the weekend and Brussels warned Ankara it had to respect media freedom in its decade-long bid for EU membership -- also a topic in the refugee talks.

Tusk, the European Council president and summit host, said in his invitation letter that success depended largely on securing Turkey's agreement at the summit for the "large-scale" readmission from Greece of economic migrants who do not qualify as refugees.

"It would effectively break the business model of the smugglers," Tusk said when he also raised the idea on Thursday in Ankara with Davutoglu. 

Brussels has meanwhile unveiled a plan for saving the passport-free Schengen zone, which has been jeopardised by several countries closing their borders to stop the huge influx of people from Syria and elsewhere.

Last Mod: 06 Mart 2016, 09:20
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