EU prepares for deal with Turkey on refugees

The final version of the agreement on refugees in Turkey has appeared in the Greek media, which will be presented to European leaders at the summit, which began today in Brussels.

De-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Cyprus issue and the rule of law in Turkey are the main issues that the summit is expected to highlight with “red lines”.

The Europeans also call on the Commission to submit a concrete proposal for immigration and financing to Turkey “as soon as possible”, which, according to this document, amounts to 3.5 billion euros (plus 1.9 billion euros that the EU owes Turkey from the 2016 agreement). However, it is recognized that Turkey is not the only country that bears the burden of refugees.

On a positive note, the European Council, that is, the leaders, is still closely following developments in Turkey and considering the developments and decisions that emerge.

Regarding Turkey:

The European Council returned to the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the EU’s relations with Turkey. He recalled the strategic interests of the EU for a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean for the development of cooperation and mutually beneficial relations with Turkey. Welcomes the de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, which must be supported in accordance with the declaration of the members of the European Council of 25 March 2021. The European Council reaffirms the EU’s readiness to work with Turkey in a gradual, proportionate and reversible manner to strengthen cooperation in various areas of common interest, without prejudice to the conditions set out in March and the previous conclusions of the European Council. In this context, marks the start of work at the technical level on the mandate to modernize the EU-Turkey customs union and recalls the need to address the current difficulties in implementing the customs union, ensuring its effective implementation in all member countries. Such a mandate may be approved by the Council subject to further guidance from the European Council. It also notes preparations for a high-level dialogue with Turkey on issues of mutual interest such as immigration, public health, climate, counter-terrorism and regional issues. The European Council calls on the Commission to urgently submit formal proposals for continued funding for Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and other parts of the region, according to the March 2021 statement by Councilors and in the context of the EU’s common immigration policy. The European Council recalls its previous findings and remains fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Emphasizes the importance of the Varosha regime and calls for full compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 550 and 789. Regrets that the unofficial meeting in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations did not prepare the ground for a repeat of the formal negotiations. The European Union will continue to play an active role in supporting this process. The rule of law and fundamental rights in Turkey remain a major concern. Attacks on political parties, human rights defenders and the media are a serious obstacle to human rights and run counter to Turkey’s obligations to respect democracy, the rule of law and women’s rights. Dialogue on these issues remains an integral part of EU-Turkey relations. Regional peace and stability are in the common interests of the EU and Turkey. The European Council expects Turkey and all interested parties to make a positive contribution to the resolution of regional crises. The European Council will continue to deal with this issue.

With regard to immigration, leaders are expected to agree on the following:

10. The Council of Europe discussed the migration situation along the various routes. While measures taken by the EU and member states have reduced overall irregular flows in recent years, changes on some routes are of serious concern and call for continued vigilance and urgency.

11. In order to prevent loss of life and reduce pressure on Europe’s borders, mutually beneficial partnerships and cooperation with countries of origin and transit will be strengthened as an integral part of the European Union’s external actions. The approach will be realistic, flexible and adaptable, it will use, as a European group, all available EU and Member State tools and incentives in a coordinated manner, and will be carried out in close cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and IOM.

It should cover and take an integrated approach to all routes, address root causes, support refugees and displaced persons in the area, strengthen migration management capacities, eliminate smuggling and human trafficking, strengthen border controls, cooperate in search and rescue, and solve problems. legal migration, respecting national obligations and ensuring return and readmission.

To this end, the European Council:

Calls on the Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in close cooperation with the Member States, to immediately step up concrete action with priority countries of origin and transit and provide them with real support. Calls on the Commission and High Representative of the EU in close collaboration with Member States, submit action plans for priority countries of origin and transit in autumn 2021, outlining clear objectives, further support measures and specific timetables. Encourages the Commission to make the best use of at least 10% of NDICI funding, as well as funding under other relevant instruments, for migration-related activities, and inform the board of its intentions on this matter by November.

12. The European Council condemns and rejects any attempts by third countries to use migrants for political purposes.

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