EU-Turkey leaders’ meeting, 9 March 2020

Erdogan

(Credit: European Union)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Council.


On 9 March, Presidents Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen met President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Brussels. The leaders discussed bilateral relations, the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement on migration, security and stability in the region and the crisis in Syria.

Today’s meeting with President Erdoğan is an important step in the right direction. Both Turkey and the EU need to work on the full implementation of the EU-Turkey statement on migration in order to de-escalate the situation.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council

On the EU-Turkey statement, leaders decided to task Josep Borrell, High Representative, and his counterpart in Turkey, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to work over the next few days on clarifying the implementation of the deal between Turkey and the European Union. This will ensure that both sides are interpreting the statement in the same way and will help maintain the political dialogue with Turkey over the coming days.

We clarified a certain number of positions, interpretations and comments relating to the implementation of the statement; in particular, we had an opportunity to show how the European Union has implemented its financial commitments, including the promise to mobilise a total of 6 billion euro to support the refugees who are in Turkey.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council

Leaders also discussed security issues in the region, especially in Syria. President Michel stressed that the EU would support any political solution which could bring about greater stability. He also expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in Idlib and on the border between Turkey and Syria, and declared the EU’s readiness to provide support in that area.

The meeting followed the visit of President Michel to Ankara on 4 March 2020.

Background

The EU-Turkey statement was agreed on 18 March 2016 between EU leaders and their Turkish counterpart, Prime Minister of Turkey. It was aimed at stopping the flow of irregular migration via Turkey to Europe, breaking the business model of smugglers and offering migrants an alternative to putting their lives at risk.

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