EU Vows to Revive 2016 Migrant Deal with Turkey



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. File photo

The EU on Monday promised to work with Turkey to revive the 2016 migration deal between the two that Ankara has blatantly violated by sending thousands of migrants and refugees toward the Greek borders.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, said she and Charles Michel, her European Council counterpart, had spoken “plainly and… openly” with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey at emergency talks in Brussels.

Von der Leyen said the two sides would attempt to “fill in the missing pieces” in the 2016 agreement struck to curb migration from Turkey to the EU, after Erdogan said he had “opened the gates” to Europe.

“We are going through the whole statement,”  von der Leyen said of the 2016 deal, under which the EU agreed to pay 6 billion euros for refugee projects in exchange for Turkey taking back people who had passed through illegally to the Greek islands. “Every topic will be a matter of discussion and evaluation.”

Erdogan did not speak to the media after the talks with the EU chiefs. He appealed for more concrete security help from NATO, however, after a meeting earlier on Monday with Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance’s secretary-general.

Earlier on Monday, the atmosphere in Europe’s capital city was not favorable for Erdogan.

“A precondition for any additional EU help should be to stop all support to illegal border crossings and move people away from the border,” Manfred Weber, a conservative German member of the European Parliament had said, hinting that Erdogan would not have an easy task in Brussels.

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