EU, Turkey Agree Joint Refugee "Action Plan"

EU, Turkey Agree Joint Refugee "Action Plan"EU, Turkey Agree Joint Refugee "Action Plan"

EU leaders approved an action plan with Turkey on Thursday to help stem the flood of migrants in return for concessions from Brussels, including easier visa access.

"Our intensified meetings with Turkish leaders ... were devoted to one goal: stemming the migratory flows that go via Turkey to the EU. The action plan is a major step in this direction," European Council President Donald Tusk said after a summit of all 28 EU leaders in Brussels, World Bulletin reported.

Tusk said Turkey would have to meet its commitments to help control the flow of migrants, mostly fleeing the war in Syria, and ensure that their asylum requests were properly dealt with.

"We need a response and an adequate response from the Turkish side; they are our partners in the crisis and the 'more for more' principle applies," he told reporters.

European Commission head, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the European Union had agreed to speed up work on easing visa access for Turkey, a candidate for EU membership, but he stressed Ankara would not get a free ride.

"We have agreed with our Turkish partners that the visa liberalization process will be accelerated but this does not mean that we will step away from the basic criteria."

Juncker said there would be a clear link between granting Turkey easier visa access, as would be expected for a country seeking EU membership and its commitment to helping manage the migrant crisis.