EU breakthrough on refugees is getting closer, says Dutch PM

Mark RutteThere is likely to be a breakthrough in Europe’s efforts to stem the flow of refugees in the near future, prime minister Mark Rutte is quoted as saying in the Volkskrant.

Greece is coming under strong pressure to improve controls at its border with Turkey and to improve the way asylum seekers are registered, Rutte told reporters in Brussels.

‘These are extremely intensive talks to ensure there is real progress,’ Rutte said. ‘I cannot say much about them because they are confidential but I have the impression that… we will make important strides forward in the coming weeks.’

The situation cannot continue as it is, Rutte said. ‘Tens of thousands of people a day is unsustainable, everyone sees this. Most people are not fleeing war in Syria but the extremely unpleasant situation in the camps. The EU is spending €3bn on improvements.’

EU and Turkish leaders will sign the agreement over the new funding on Sunday afternoon.

At the moment the border between Turkey and Greece is completely porous, Rutte said. ‘I want it shut. I don’t care if this happens via Europe or by other agreements, as long as it happens,’ he said.

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