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Migrant crisis: EU-Turkey 'action plan'

Friday, October 16, 2015 - 02:03

The European Union says it's agreed an 'action plan' with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants and refugees. Paul Chapman reports.

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European Union leaders met in Brussels desperate for some kind of deal with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants to its shores. By the end they said they'd agreed on an action plan with Ankara including an offer of easier travel for Turkey's own people. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, SAYING: "We have agreed with our Turkish partners that the visa liberalisation process will be accelerated. This does not mean that we would step away from the basic criteria which are the rules in that domain, so there will be no other criteria for Turkey and we'll assess progress made in Spring 2016." Hundreds of thousands of migrants are already in the EU and more are on they way. EU leaders want Turkey to stem the flow by helping to improve the lives of two million Syrian refugees on its soil and encourage them to stay put. The EU's also ready to Ankara nearly $3.5 billion dollars in aid to achieve that, and 're-energised' talks on EU membership, subject to conditions. Those include Turkey's agreement to take back migrants who fail to win refugee status. The urgency for action is becoming ever more apparent - it's the biggest migration movement Europe's seen since World War Two. Seven people, including a baby and three children, drowned off the Greek island of Lesbos on Thursday when their boat sank after a crash with a coast guard vessel. Thousands of migrants have risked their lives to make the short but dangerous Aegean Sea crossing from Turkey. Nearly 400,000 have arrived in Greece so far this year, according to the U.N. The European Frontex border agency says 710, 000 have arrived in the E.U. in the same period without the right documents or through illegal entry points.

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Migrant crisis: EU-Turkey 'action plan'

Friday, October 16, 2015 - 02:03