Turkey and the European Union have reached agreement on key points of a proposal to handle the overflow of refugees, according to a tweet for the spokesman of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“Deal. Breakthrough with Turkey,” read the tweet from Martin Selmayr.
The proposal still needs formal approval. The next step is for the proposal to be taken to EU leaders at the European Council migration crisis meeting scheduled for March 17-18.
“President of #EUCO will take forward the proposals and work out the details with the Turkish side before the March #EUCO,” read a tweet from Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg.
“We agreed to work on the basis of 6 principles,” he tweeted. It was not immediately clear what those principles are.
The news came as European Union leaders held an emergency summit Monday with Turkey aimed at staunching the flow of migrants to Europe as they search for a solution to the continent’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.
About 134,900 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe so far this year, the International Organization for Migration said, with more than 500 having died making the dangerous journey.
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The vast majority of the migrants have come via Turkey.
EU heads of government were expected to push Turkey to do more to prevent migrants from leaving its shores, by targeting human trafficking networks and repatriating so-called economic migrants — people who have left their homelands in hopes of a better life, rather than out of fear for their lives.
In return, the EU will support Turkey in managing the millions of refugees the country has already taken in. It already hosts 2.6 million migrants.
Under a joint action plan agreed upon last year, the EU agreed to pay Turkey €3 billion ($3.3 billion) to support its refugee population and target people-smuggling networks — a mission that has seen NATO warships deployed to the eastern Mediterranean this year. (Courtesy CNN)