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EU to Ask Greece and Cyprus to Make Concessions to Turkey Over Refugee Crisis

jean-claude junckerThe European Commission is to ask Greece and Cyprus to make concessions to Turkey in order for Europe to come to an agreement on the refugee flow issue, Reuters says.
According to the report, the Commission will present three proposals in Thursday’s crucial European Union summit with Turkey. Europe will ask that Greece and Cyprus accept the following concessions:

  • The opening “under conditions” of five new chapters in Turkey’s accession negotiations. This is to curb the threat of Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiadis to block the deal. The official who spoke to Reuters, however, did not specify those conditions.
  • Greece to declare Turkey as a safe third country in order to speed up the process of refugees and migrants returning to Turkey. The plan will provide that Greek authorities will continue to examine applications for asylum by all refugees who arrive on its islands of the country, under international law.
  • Abolish visa for Turkish citizens who want to travel to the 28 EU states by July. Here, the obstacle is France’s reaction. France demands that Ankara fulfills 72 conditions before Turkish citizens can travel to Europe freely. The European Commission proposes the compromise to include the implementation of a “critical mass” of required conditions, such as the judicial system, without mentioning the exact number.

According to the report, EU leaders hope to agree on a political and legal level, so this thorny issue is resolved at the two-day summit in Brussels. Also, the EU 28 will have to decide on the amount Europe will give Turkey in order to tackle the refugee crisis, beyond the 3 billion euros already agreed.

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