EU interior ministers to meet to discuss refugee crisis

European Union interior ministers to meet to discuss migration crisis, with special emphasis on Turkey's role as main host of Syrian refugees

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A Syrian boy looks for his shoes on the shore of a beach shortly after he and other refugees arrived to the Greek island of Lesbos from the Turkish coasts.

EU interior ministers will meet in Brussels to discuss the matter of the increasing number of refugees in Europe, focusing on Turkey's key role in providing for Syrian refugees.

In the meeting the ministers will discuss a plan to send back migrants ineligible for asylum and methods to reinforce the European Union's external borders.

The ministers will also discuss safe countries to where migrants can be returned.

Earlier on Thurday German Chancellor Angela Merkel underlined the necessity of a collective EU effort to handle the crisis and said Turkey will play a "key role."

"Most war refugees that come to Europe travel via Turkey. We won't be able to order and stem the refugee movement without working together with Turkey," she said to the German parliament.

The 28 EU leaders gathering in Brussel expect Turkey will approve a joint action plan which involves financial support for migrants who live in Turkey, permission from Turkey to help patrol its coasts, and fighting migrant smuggling.

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Tuesday that  "An agreement with Turkey makes sense if it effectively reduces the inflow of refugees,"

Tusk recently said, "The situation where hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing to the EU via Turkey must be stopped; we cannot do it on our own, we need the Turkish side."

In response to these comments Erdogan once again reiterated his calls for a buffer zone and a no-fly zone on the Turkish-Syrian border in which to host refugees, stressing that the real cause of the migrant crisis was the war in Syria.

The EU is eager to cooperate with Turkey as it struggles to cope with the influx of refugees travelling through its members' borders.

Migrants wait to board buses on a field near the village of Babska, Croatia September 23, 2015.

The European Union announced last week that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had handed a Draft Action Plan to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels concerning management of the refugee crisis.

“The EU stands ready to further step up help for Turkey to improve reception facilities for refugees and improve their wellbeing,” he said.

“In the refugee crisis, Turkey and the EU walk together and work together.”

Turkey has spent more than €6.75 billion of its own resources on refugees, whose number has exceeded 2.2 million, Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement. He said that the main objective is to assist Turkey in managing the situation and preventing uncontrolled migratory flows from Turkey to the EU.

Turkey is a transit point for refugees aiming to reach European countries from Syria because of its geography bridging the Middle East and Europe.


TRTWorld and agencies