Estonian PM at summit: Migration deal between Turkey and EU is sealed (10)
A deal to to solve the migration crisis has been struck, reported Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas from the Friday afternoon meeting between EU leaders and Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
“Leaders of the European Union and Turkey agreed this afternoon on a joint migration plan which should reduce migration pressure on Europe originating in Turkey,” Rõivas stated in a press release.
Describing the deal as a “potential game-changer”, Rõivas stressed that immediate implementation of the agreement reached is now key, and that all member states of the EU must contribute to it to the best of their ability.
He said that Estonia is ready to send 20 people immediately to assist Greece.
Under the deal struck on Friday, beginning March 20, all illegal immigrants to reach Greece via Turkey will be returned to Turkey. For each Syrian national returned to Turkey, one Syrian will be resettled the refugee camps in Turkey to the EU. In addition, Turkey will take back any migrants who have arrived in Greece illegally via Turkey, and the EU will increase financial assistance for the improvement of living conditions in the refugee camps in Turkey.
The relocation is slated to take place based on agreements previously reached within the EU, and in agreed-upon numbers; in other words, the number of refugees to be relocated to the EU will not be growing.
On Thursday, the Estonian government approved the European Commission’s decision to establish a €3 billion joint EU-Turkey trust fund, and authorized the Estonian Minister of Finance to sign orders for the payment of Estonia’s contribution to this fund, a sum of €2.79 million.
Peter Spiegel, head of the Brussels office of the Financial Times, tweeted on Friday that “Greece has 48 hours to get a full-bore asylum system up and running on its remote islands.”
Spiegel had also retweeted a message stating that the process of returning of migrants who had entered Greece illegally via Turkey will begin on March 20, with physical returning likely to begin on March 28.
Resettlement of refugees from refugee camps in Turkey to the EU will begin in April.