EU-Turkey action plan aims to curb migration into Europe

The European Commission and Turkey agreed in October to an action plan aimed at tackling the massive wave of migration arriving in the European Union from Turkey.

The plan details three ways to approach the migration crisis: firstly, by addressing its "root causes," secondly, "by supporting Syrians ... and their host communities in Turkey," and thirdly "by strengthening cooperation to prevent irregular migration flows to the EU."

The text of the plan acknowledged at the time that Turkey was hosting 2.2 million refugees from the civil war in neighbouring Syria, having spent 7 million euros (7.6 million dollars) on the crisis so far.

The EU said it had already provided 4.2 billion euros for Syrian refugees within Syria and in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

Under the plan, the bloc has pledged a further 3 billion euros to help improve the livelihood of Syrian refugees living in Turkey, by working with the Turkish authorities and humanitarian organizations within the country to deliver aid.

The plan calls on Turkey to register refugees, provide them with "appropriate documents," give them access to public services including education and health services and allow them to participate in the economy while they are in Turkey.

Closer cooperation - notably between the Turkish Coast Guard, the EU external border agency Frontex and EU police force Europol - should help tackle human trafficking.

Turkey should cooperate closely with EU neighbours Bulgaria and Greece under the plan.

The two sides also agreed to accelerate the return to Turkey of "irregular migrants who are not in need of international protection."

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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