UK deal done, Merkel resets sights on EU migrant plan with Turkey

By REUTERS
February 20, 2016 03:05
1 minute read.

 
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BRUSSELS - With a deal secured to help keep Britain in the European Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel swiftly refocused her sights on pressing ahead with a joint EU solution to the bloc's refugee crisis in tandem with Turkey.

Along with the deal for Britain, tackling Europe's migrant crisis in collaboration with Turkey was a top priority for Merkel at a two-day EU summit in Brussels that ended late on Friday.

Germany took in over one million migrants last year, many of them fleeing war in Syria and Iraq, and has led efforts to offer money and promises to revive Turkey's long-stalled EU accession talks to get Ankara to prevent more people from embarking from its shores for Europe.

But Merkel's efforts to press on with the EU-Turkey plan were frustrated when a pre-summit meeting on migration due to be held Thursday between Turkey and 11 EU states was called off due to a bombing in Ankara.

Merkel said she spoke by telephone with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday and was pleased that, after Thursday's cancelled meeting, he would join all 28 EU leaders for a summit in early March.

"The fact that we have decided a joint summit - not just a summit of 'the coalition of the willing', but a joint summit of 28 with the Turkish prime minister - I think that is a very strong signal," Merkel said.

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