Baku. 8 March. REPORT.AZ/ European Union leaders hoped early Tuesday they reached the outlines for a possible deal with Ankara to return thousands of migrants to Turkey and said they were confident a full agreement could be reached at a summit next week, Report informs referring to the Turkish media.
After months of disagreements and increasing bickering among the 28 EU nations, French President François Hollande said that "the summit has created hope that the refugee question can be dealt with through solidarity in Europe, and efficiency in cooperation with Turkey."
All eyes centered now on March 17 and the start of a two-day summit to finalize the commitment and clinch an iron-clad deal which the leaders hope would allow for a return to normalcy at their borders by the end of the year.
Turkey said it would be willing to make greater efforts to contain irregular migration. "The truth is that Turkey came to the summit with attractive proposals," said Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras.
EU President Donald Tusk said that after a week of shuttle diplomacy in and around Turkey, "we have a breakthrough now."
During 12 hours of negotiations, Turkey insisted that any agreement would require Europe to advance Turkey's accession to the bloc. Turkey also said it expects EU nations to ease its visa restrictions on Turkish citizens within months.
The EU has so far pledged a funding of 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) to Turkey that is home to 2.75 million refugees chiefly from neighboring Syria. "Turkey is ready to work with the EU, and Turkey is ready to be a member of the EU as well," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters in Brussels.