Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is among the European leaders who have reacted positively to a deal struck by the European Commission with Turkey on the refugee crisis.
‘This plan shows Turkey is prepared to provide more accommodation, offer more perspective in terms of schooling and jobs, improve border security and tackle the criminal networks of human traffickers in a coordinated approach,’ Rutte is quoted as saying by broadcaster Nos. ‘We are going to help in this, because investing in Turkey is in our interests.’
The EU countries have agreed to invest €3bn on improving conditions in Turkish refugee camps. German chancellor Angela Merkel says Turkey has already spent €7bn on providing accommodation for Syrian refugees. ‘It is only logical that the EU provides a similar contribution in the coming years,’ she said.
The deal has been brokered by former Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans, who is now deputy chairman of the European Commission and has been leading the discussions with Ankara.
As well as providing more money for refugees, the EU has agreed to speed up plans to remove visa requirements for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, if Turkey meets certain conditions on passport security.
Turkey will also be included in the EU’s safe country list, which means refugees who move into Europe from Turkey can be sent back, Dutch media reported.
In addition, the talks on Turkey joining the EU will also be ‘re-energised’, the BBC said.
However, Greece, Cyprus and France are among several EU countries which are cautious about rushing into an agreement with Turkey too quickly, sources told the broadcaster.
Turkey is currently hosting some two million migrants, most of them fleeing the war in neighbouring Syria.
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