EU and Turkey agree on new measures to manage the migratory flows

Government Communications Department 18.3.2016 19.09
Press release 119/2016

On 18 March, EU leaders and the Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu agreed in Brussels on additional measures to be taken to stop the uncontrolled migration from Turkey to the EU Member States.

-    The EU-Turkey readmission agreement finalised by the European Council together with Turkey is a significant step in the European solution aiming to curb irregular migratory flows and to create more humane conditions for refugees in need of international protection, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said.

The Joint Statement comprises the following:

  • All new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey into the Greek islands as from 20 March 2016 will be returned to Turkey.
    • This will take place in full accordance with EU and international law, thus excluding any kind of collective expulsion.
    • Instead, all cases will be processed individually by the Greek authorities in cooperation with UNCHR.
  • For every Syrian being returned to Turkey from Greece, another Syrian refugee under the quota system will be resettled from Turkey to the EU.
    • The arrangement will take place within the framework of prior commitments taken by the EU.
  • Turkey will take any necessary measures to prevent new routes for irregular migrants opening from Turkey to the EU.
  • Provided that Turkey meets all required criteria, the visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens to the EU will enter into force at the latest by the end of June 2016.
  • The disbursement of the initially pledged EUR 3 billion by the EU will be speeded up for refugees in Turkey for projects in healthcare and education, for instance. If necessary, the EU is prepared to decide about the mobilisation of conditional funding of an additional EUR 3 billion for Turkey up to the end of 2018
  • Turkey's EU membership negotiations will be accelerated by opening Chapter 33 by the end of July.
  • The EU and Turkey will collaborate to improve humanitarian conditions inside Syria, so there is no need for people to flee.

Inquiries: Kare Halonen, State Secretary, EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 315, Jari Haapiainen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 295 160 406, Prime Minister's Office