EU to provide Turkey with another 3 billion euros for refugees
Following a summit in Brussels on June 24, EU leaders agreed to provide Turkey with around €3 billion in financial aid for the migration pact with Turkey, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. A statement from the summit said that the EU is willing to engage in “a phased, proportionate and reversible” enhancement of relations with Ankara, although the “rule of law and fundamental rights in Turkey remain a key concern.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on June 24 that EU leaders agreed to provide Turkey with around €3 billion ($3.6 billion) in financial aid to stem migration.
Merkel made the remarks following talks on the first day of the EU leaders' summit in Brussels, saying comprehensive talks on relations with Turkey were held during the meeting.
In 2016, Turkey and the EU struck a deal to keep migrants from reaching Europe in exchange for financial aid.
Merkel also said that the EU will continue working on a customs union update with Turkey.
"We will continue the work on the customs union, and of course we expect constructive attitude from Turkey. We have also seen an improvement in the situation in the Mediterranean,” she said.
After the summit, the European Commission announced that it has adopted a number of conclusions on Turkey, saying the bloc was willing to engage in “a phased, proportionate and reversible” enhancement of relations with Ankara, such as the modernization of a joint customs union.
The text “takes note of the start of work at technical level towards a mandate” for launching the trade talks with Turkey, but insists that “current difficulties” in economic relations with the country must be addressed first.
EU leaders also urged the Commission “to put forward without delay formal proposals for the continuation of financing for Syrian refugees” living a Turkey -- in a clear sign of protest at the pace with which the Commission has been handling this issue.
The text also addressed the "rule of law and fundamental rights in Turkey," saying they remain a key concern. "The targeting of political parties, human rights defenders and media represents major setbacks for human rights and runs counter to Turkey’s obligations to respect democracy, the rule of law and women’s rights. Dialogue on such issues remains an integral part of the EU-Turkey relationship," it said.
“In line with the shared interests of the EU and Turkey in regional peace and stability, the European Council expects Turkey and all actors to contribute positively to the resolution of regional crises."
“The European Council will remain seized of the matter,” it concluded.
Turkey says EU summit decisions 'far from containing necessary steps'
The Turkish Foreign Ministry slammed the EU summit's decisions saying they are "far from containing expected and necessary steps."
Turkey has "more than fulfilled" its responsibilities in terms of reducing tensions and initiating dialogue and cooperation, the ministry said in a written statement on June 25.
The EU is "postponing concrete decisions to implement the positive agenda, including the updating of the (1995) Customs Union," the ministry said.
"The proposed new financial aid package is aimed at Syrian refugees, not Turkey, and essentially, a step to be taken to ensure the EU's own peace and security," it said. "It is a big mistake to reduce the migration cooperation to merely a financial dimension."