Refugee Crisis: Turkey and EU Emergency Summit Held in Brussels
Leaders from Turkey and EU have gathered in Brussels for an emergency summit on tackling Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War Two.
The EU aims to stem the flow of refugees and plans to declare the route north through the Balkans closed.
It will press Turkey to take back economic migrants and has pledged to give Ankara €3 billion ($3.3 billion).
In 2015, more than a million people entered the EU illegally by boat, mainly going from Turkey to Greece.
Many refugees leave Greece in a bid to reach northern Europe, but eight countries have introduced temporary border controls.
Some 13,000 refugees are currently stranded in northern Greece, after Macedonia, backed by Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia, closed its border to all but a trickle of refugees.
The human cost of the migrant crisis was brought home again on Sunday when a boat capsized off Turkey with the loss of 25 lives.
EU states remain divided over their response to the crisis with strains showing this year even in Germany and Sweden, seen as the countries most open to refugees.
Anti-migrant parties won a general election in Slovakia on March 5 which saw the far right gaining seats.
The summit will be in two parts – the first session will involve Turkey, while in the second part UK Prime Minister David Cameron will join other EU leaders in seeking to reach a common approach to the crisis.
The EU is expected to ask Turkey to take back thousands of refugees who do not qualify for asylum.
In return the EU will discuss plans to resettle in Europe some refugees already in Turkey.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated last week Turkey was ready to take back all migrants apprehended in Turkish waters.
EU leaders are also likely to raise the issue of the Zaman newspaper, the biggest opposition journal in Turkey.
On March 4, a Turkish court ordered the seizure of the Zaman, increasing fears for media freedom. Two days later it was publishing pro-government articles.