Press Advisories

8. 3. 2016 23:38

Prime Minister Sobotka: the EU summit with Turkey brought us closer to solving the migration crisis

Group photo of the Heads of State and Prime Ministers of the EU and Turkey, 7th of March 2016. Source: European Union.
Group photo of the Heads of State and Prime Ministers of the EU and Turkey, 7th of March 2016. Source: European Union.
On Monday the 7th of March 2016, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met with EU leaders and the Turkish Prime Minister at the extraordinary summit in Brussels to discuss the development of the migration crisis and stop illegal migration. The result is a joint plan for EU and Turkey, which will lead to reducing the flow of migrants to Europe, and an agreement on the closure of the western Balkan route for illegal migration.

During the first part of the summit the Heads of State and Prime Ministers of the EU countries met with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on the implementation of the EU Action Plan with Turkey and further concrete steps in addressing the migration crisis. The EU and Turkey have agreed on further joint action that will be binding for both parties.

Based on the agreement, which will be endorsed at the March meeting of the European Council, Turkey will accept all migrants and refugees that have illegally crossed the border and arrive from across the Aegean Sea to Greece. Everyone who goes from Turkey on the illegal route to Europe will be returned to Turkey. This will succeed in breaking the smuggling business as traveling to Europe with the prospect of returning back to Turkey would completely lose its meaning.

Part of the proposed solution to reducing the burden of migration in Turkey, which has already received over 2.5 million Syrian refugees, is the resettlement of legal Syrians in Europe. Refugee numbers will be based on previously approved decisions and recommendations of the EU on resettlement and relocation. “We have managed to secure a guarantee that this relocation will take place only within the framework of existing commitments. The Czech Republic has not taken a larger number of refugees than for which it has committed in the past”, said Prime Minister Sobotka.

EU leaders also discussed stepping up visa liberalization for Turkey. Turkey must still first meet all of the requirements, including the functioning readmission of illegal migrants to Turkey.

“We spent a lot of energy on today’s meeting because I believe that the outcome will bring us closer to a real solution to the migration crisis, which now threatens the very foundations of the European Union”, said Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka after the meeting.

In the second part of the Summit of Heads of State and Prime Ministers of EU member states agreed on a joint statement in which they highlight the need for the consistent application of the Schengen rules. EU leaders also reaffirmed the conclusions of the V4 summit in Prague, where they stated that part of the European migration solution must be enhanced cooperation with countries in the Balkans.

“Along with our European partners, we have agreed that it is necessary to do everything to end illegal migration flows through the western Balkan route. In relation to this decision, all of the Member States, including the Czech Republic pledged to intensively help Greece, both in the humanitarian field and in the protection of external borders,” said Prime Minister Sobotka.

EU leaders will follow on from today’s summit during next week’s meetings of the European Council, which will take place on the 17th and 18th of March in Brussels.

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