It is too early to give an optimistic assessment of the EU-Turkey plan aimed at stemming the flow of migrants into Europe, European Council President Donald Tusk said.
In November, Turkey and the European Union approved a joint plan to cut the influx of migrants into the 28-nation bloc. Turkey is to help protect EU borders, and is expected to agree to resettle refugees that have managed to get to Europe from Turkey. EU member-states are expected to provide Ankara with over $3 billion and give impetus to negotiations for Turkey’s accession to the European Union.
“This is an ongoing process,” Tusk said at a press conference on Thursday, after a European Council meeting, when asked about progress on the implementation of the EU-Turkey plan.
Speaking at the same press conference, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said referring to the plan that “It will be done.”
Tusk, in his turn, warned against early conclusions on the implementation of the EU deal with Turkey.
“Maybe the most important thing today is the real assessment of what is the situation in Turkey, in Greece, on the border between Turkey and Greece. And today is too early for an optimistic assessment,” Tusk said.
Turkey is a key transit country for thousands of refugees fleeing conflicts in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and heading for Europe.
Turkey currently hosts the highest number of Syrian refugees – over 2 million according to UN estimates.
Approximately 160,000 asylum seekers arrived in Greece from Turkey in October alone, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).