Hollande says EU should help Turkey with refugee burden

Hollande says EU should work with Turkey and help neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

French President Francois Hollande (L) speaks next to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during a news conference at the Military Academy in Modena, central Italy, September 17, 2015

French President Francois Hollande said he will ask the EU to “work with Turkey” on the refugee crisis in the press talk after meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Thursday.

Hollande said he expects three decisions to be taken in the next week’s European leaders summit on the refugee crisis.

The first is “to create some hotspot centres” for asylum seekers in Italy, Greece and Hungary.

The second is to ensure that migrants who are already in Turkey can “stay there, work there and have all the resources they need to wait until the situation in Syria is resolved.” The EU must ensure countries besides Turkey where the refugees lived before deciding to leave for Europe also "receive much more aid."

Hollande’s third proposal agreed with Renzi relates to Africa. African countries should receive “development assistance” so they will accept a plan to “send back those who don't have the prerequisites to stay" under asylum seeking laws.

Besides the some 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, there are over 1.1 million in Lebanon, more than 600,000 in Jordan and even some 250,000 in Iraq, according to UNHCR reports.

The European leaders summit will occur next Wednesday following a call by European Council President Donald Tusk to discuss how to manage external EU borders and help Turkey, through which many migrants are passing, deal with the crisis. He was urged to call a summit by Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, the leading state in the union and the desired final destination of many of the refugees.

In the same press talk, Renzi said the European Union was “created to knock down walls, not to build them,” referring to EU member states that are increasing border restrictions in light of the crisis.

He said “if today some countries belong to the European Union next to France, Italy and other founding countries it is because somebody has knocked down a wall.”

Renzi also met Luxemburg PM Xavier Bettel on Thursday concerning the issue, after which Bettel said people escaping Syria “run not for a better life but to live, to survive.”

TRTWorld and agencies