Discussions of an EU-Turkey deal on handling migrant flows hit a stumbling block earlier this week as both sides dug their heels in on which side would move first on implementing aspects of the agreement, according to the FT.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Council President Donald Tusk, visiting Ankara, pushed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to implement tighter border controls and to award worker visas to two million Syrian refugees already in Turkey. Erdogan bristled at the demands, and said the EU must first unlock the €3 billion in aid and start making progress on re-opening EU accession negotiations with Turkey. The talks turned contentious when Erdogan reportedly dismissed Juncker as the former premier of a country, Luxembourg, that’s “the size of a Turkish city.” The ever-cheerful Juncker later described the meeting as “sportive and exhausting.”
Turkey is the EU’s great hope as Brussels scrambles frantically for a solution to the migrant crisis. The deal is supposed to be finalized and signed ahead of a November 29 Turkey-EU summit. If that doesn’t happen, everyone goes back to the drawing board.