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AA 22/06/21: EU leaders to discuss support for refugees in Turkey

EU Commission president to brief EU leaders on steps to redefine EU-Turkey relationship at upcoming summit.


The EU leaders will discuss financial support for refugees in Turkey at their upcoming summit, an EU official said on Tuesday.

“The President [of the European Commission] will engage with her partners in the European Council about the results of our work in relations to Turkey,” Dana Spinant, the European Commission deputy chief spokeswoman, told reporters.

She recalled that the EU leaders invited the European Commission in March to work on proposals redefining the relationship between the bloc and Turkey.

Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the EU executive body, will brief the EU leaders on the development of the work at the two-day EU summit starting on Thursday.

“The discussion will also cover the support for migration, refugees that Turkey hosts, as well as other issues,” Spinant added.

In order to prepare for the summit, von der Leyen talked with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone on Monday.

In a social media post, she called their exchange “a good conversation” and explained that they had “discussed the state of EU-Turkey relations, COVID-19, Trade and Customs Union, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, migration and developments in Afghanistan.”

Turkey hosts nearly 4 million refugees, more than any other country in the world. It has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Under the March 2016 deal, the EU allocated €6 billion ($7.2 billion) to support Syrian migrants in Turkey, but Turkey has complained that the funds were allocated belatedly and incompletely.

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