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MEPs demand details of the EU-Turkey deal

Dutch minister Jeanine Hennis-PlasschaertDutch minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
Dutch minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert

MEPs demanded details on Wednesday of the deal struck by EU leaders with Turkey on the management of migrant and refugee flows, underlining that the international asylum rules must be respected.

In a plenary debate with the Council and the Commission, most political group leaders insisted that EU accession negotiations with Turkey and talks on visa liberalisation for Turkish nationals travelling to the EU should not be linked to the refugee issue.

The threats to press freedom in Turkey and the recent seizure of Zaman newspaper by the authorities, as well as Turkey’s treatment of Kurdish minorities, were raised during the discussion with Dutch minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, representing the Council, and Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis. Preparations for the next European Council summit, on 17-18 March, were also addressed. MEPs discussed fiscal policy and “European Semester” economic policy coordination, which will be on the next summit agenda.


Visa rule changes entail switching the country concerned from one list to another in an annex to the relevant regulation (such changes are subject to co-decision by Parliament and the Council). Then the Commission negotiates terms with the country and the Council signs them. Parliament’s consent is required.

The one billion euros from the EU-budget the Commission promised for the Turkey refugee facility, as well as any potential additional funds coming from the EU, will also have to be negotiated and approved by Parliament under the budgetary procedure.

Live replays of the debate

Statement Jeanine HENNIS-PLASSCHAERT on behalf of the Council

Statement Jeanine HENNIS-PLASSCHAERT on behalf of the Council (2nd part)

Statement by Valdis DOMBROVSKIS, EC Vice-President

Statement by Valdis DOMBROVSKIS, EC Vice-President (2nd part)

Manfred Weber (EPP, DE)

Gianni Pittella (S&D, IT)

Syed Kamall (ECR, UK)

Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE)

Gabriele Zimmer (GUE/NGL, DE)

Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA, BE)

David Borrelli (EFDD, IT)

Marine Le Pen (ENF, FR)

Krisztina Morvai (NI, HU)

Statement of the EU Heads of State or Government following the summit with Turkish authorities (07.03.2016)
European Council 17-18 March – Agenda highlights