European Leaders to Discuss EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan

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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico at an extraordinary EU summit in Brussels (photo by TASR)

Brussels/Bratislava, March 7 (TASR) – The leaders of EU-member states, including Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, will speak to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at an extraordinary summit in Brussels on Monday about the implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan, TASR learnt on the same day.

The action plan, which was drawn up last November, should oblige Turkey to stop the influx of migrants and combat people smugglers. The EU in turn has pledged €3 billion to improve the living conditions of 2.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

European Council President Donald Tusk prior to the summit pointed to the still high number of refugees who are coming to Greece via Turkey. He didn’t confirm media information about a reduction in these numbers to around 1,000 refugees per day.

Tusk and Davutoglu met last week to discuss reducing migration flows as well as the return of all migrants from Greece to Turkey that aren’t in need of international protection. Ankara is also prepared to take back all migrants captured in Turkish territorial waters.

Tusk would like to discuss an increase in humanitarian assistance to Greece. This should involve a new tool designed to help EU-member states during extraordinary events such as the migration crisis.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will ask for the observance of the new rules in terms of returning migrants without the right to asylum to their countries of origin as well as in terms of redistributing migrants among all EU-member states.

Fico’s spokesperson Beatrice Szaboova later reported that will cut short his agenda at the extraordinary EU summit and will return to Slovakia in several hours due to unspecified reasons. He’ll be more specific at a press conference after a business lunch held by the European Council and Turkey, which Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is attending. Fico thus won’t be present at the following working session of the Council.