World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey must stop the flow of refugees coming into Europe in order to receive concessions such as easier travel visas for its citizens in return, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Tuesday.
"An agreement with Turkey makes sense if it effectively reduces the inflow of refugees. Concessions will only be justified when this goal is achieved," Tusk said in a letter on Tuesday to EU heads of government ahead of a summit in Brussels on Thursday.
"Even if the influx of refugees slows down during winter, we must be ready for spring and the threat of bigger waves flowing to Europe," Tusk said. "In fact, all the leaders I met in the region spoke about millions of potential new refugees."
A refugee action plan was proposed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and presented to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 5.
According to the plan, the EU offered €1 billion ($1.13 billion) in humanitarian assistance for refugees hosted in Turkey.
Turkish officials have welcomed the EU’s readiness to take action but emphasized that financial aid from the EU was not the main issue. Already hosting 2.2 million refugees inside the country, Turkey is keen to establish a safe area for refugees to live inside Syria.
"Turkey is calling on us to support the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria, whereas Russia – increasingly engaged in Syria – is openly rejecting this idea," Tusk said.
"There is no doubt that our strengthened cooperation with the region is indispensable, but it will be a long march," he added.
EU heads of government are set to gather in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the situation in Syria and the worst refugee crisis facing the 28-nation bloc since World War II.Last Mod: 15 Ekim 2015, 09:17