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EU seeks Turkey's help to stop refugee flow

November 29, 2015 at 2:09 pm

EU heads of government want Turkey to stem the flow of refugees into Europe in exchange for money and political concessions.

“The most important one is our responsibility and duty to protect our external borders,” European Council President Donald Tusk told reporters in Brussels ahead of a EU-Turkey summit, which will be attended by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

“Without control on our external borders Schengen will become history,” Tusk added.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said ahead of the summit that he is confident “the Turkish authorities will do whatever [they] have to do in order to decrease the flows [of refugees]”.

According to a draft agreement, seen by Anadolu Agency, the EU aims to implement visa freedom for Turks travelling to the EU in Oct. 2016 if Ankara meets certain criteria specified in an agreed roadmap.

EU has offered Turkey €3 billion [$3.1 billion] in funding to meet the needs of Syrian refugees in the country.

“If the refugees in Turkey receive work opportunities, education and social benefits, then more of them will stay inside the country,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told reporters.

The draft agreement also states that both the EU and Turkey have agreed to re-energize accession talks and the opening of chapter 17 on the economy in December.