29th November 2015

EU-Turkey summit to discuss refugee measures

European Council President Donald Tusk called an extraordinary meeting of EU heads of state and government with the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for Sunday 29 November. The aim of the meeting is to sanction the deals agreed in principle over the last couple of weeks concerning the tackling of the refugee crisis. EU seeks Turkey´s help in coping with the huge amounts of refugees that attempt (and in general succeed) to enter the bloc, with a large majority of them starting their journey in Turkey. Turkey would tighten its borders and improve living conditions for refugees on its territory as part of the deal. The EU would also like to set up registration hotspots in Turkey, but views differ on this point so far. As part of a quid-pro-quo agreement, the EU would create a €3 billion fund to help Turkey better integrate its refugees. In the run-up to the EU-Turkey summit, EU states were uneasy about their contributions to this fund. According to the Commission´s proposal, the EU budget would contribute €500 million, with the remaining €2.5 billion distributed among the member states. Germany is expected to pay more than half a billion euros, the Czech contribution should be around 600 million CZK.

The second big incentive for Turkey to cooperate is political. According to draft conclusions of the meeting seen by POLITICO, the EU would re-open accession negotiations in several chapters, including energy, judiciary, justice and freedom or foreign and security policy in early 2016. This is controversial because the reasons why the negotiations are in practice frozen remain – from the Cypriot question to President Erdogan´s authoritative style of governing. The Commission itself stated this in its recent report on accession talks. The second political incentive would be visa liberalization. Here, however, the EU is prepared to proceed only if Turkey signs a re-admission agreement with the bloc. According to the conclusions draft, the re-admission deal could be effective in Summer 2016, followed by full visa liberalization from Fall 2016.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic