International Summit: Meeting of the EU heads of state or government with Turkey, Brussels, 29 November 2015

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details 29.11.15
Publication Date 29/11/2015
Content Type

Background and context:
European Council President Donald Tusk decided to call a meeting of EU heads of state or government with Turkey to take place in Brussels on the 29 November 2015. The meeting would mark an important step in developing EU-Turkey relations and contribute to managing the migration crisis.

The decision to hold a meeting between the EU 28 leaders and Turkey followed a series of high level talks between the European Commission and Turkey as well as a number of bilateral meetings by President Tusk with President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Davutoğlu.

EU leaders discussed the importance of stepping up cooperation with Turkey on the migration crisis at their meetings in October and November 2015.

In the conclusions of its October meeting, the European Council welcomed a joint Action Plan with Turkey. The EU and its member states announced that they stand ready to increase cooperation with Turkey and step up their political and financial engagement substantially.On 29 November 2015, EU heads of state or government held a meeting with Turkey. The meeting marked an important step in developing EU-Turkey relations and contributing to managing the migration crisis.

European Council President Donald Tusk chaired the meeting, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu represented Turkey.

The EU and Turkey agreed to re-energise Turkey's accession process to the European Union. High-level dialogue between both parties will be reinforced through more frequent and structured meetings including the organisation of summits twice a year.

Regular summits will provide a platform to assess the development of Turkey-EU relations and discuss international issues.

A Joint Action Plan has been adopted at the meeting to deal with the refugee crisis created by the situation in Syria. The EU and its member states will increase their cooperation with Turkey and step up their political and financial engagement substantially.

The EU is committed to provide an initial €3 billion euro of additional resources to Turkey to help it cope with the high numbers of Syrian refugees currently in the country.

With the implementation of the action plan, both sides will step up their active cooperation on migrants who are not in need of international protection:

+ preventing travel to Turkey and the EU
+ ensuring the application of the established bilateral readmission provisions
+ swiftly returning them to their countries of origin

Leaders welcomed the intention of Turkey to further improve the situation of the Syrians under temporary protection and remain committed to fight against criminal smuggling networks.

The EU and Turkey also agreed to apply from June 2016 the readmission agreement. They are aiming to complete the visa liberalization process, and the lifting of visa requirements for Turkish citizens in the Schengen zone, by October 2016.

Accession process
The leaders announced an Intergovernmental Conference on 14 December 2015 to open chapter 17 of the accession process, on further economic integration with Turkey. The European Commission will start the preparation work on further chapters without prejudice to the position of member states.

Out of 35 negotiating chapters with Turkey, 14 chapters have been opened and 1 of these has been provisionally closed.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: Tusk calls EU-Turkey summit on 29 November
ESO: Information Guide: European Migration Challenges
ESO: Background information: G20 - Turkey 2015
ESO: Background information: Russian warplane shot down near Turkey-Syria border / Turkey feels Putin’s fury over downed fighter
EP: EPRS: At a Glance, November 2015: Outlook for the 29 November 2015 meeting of the Heads of State or Government of the EU with Turkey
Politico, 29.11.15: Merkel forges new alliance on refugees
EUObserver, 29.11.15: Tusk: EU can't 'outsource' borders to Turkey
EurActiv, 29.11.15: Detained journalists urge EU not to compromise with Turkey over human rights
Today's Zaman, 29.11.15: EU pledges visa-free travel, re-energized accession talks to Turkey in exchange for stemming refugee crisis
EurActiv, 29.11.15: EU and Turkey agree on €3 billion refugee deal
BBC News, 29.11.15: Migrant crisis: Turkey and EU strike deal to limit refugee flow
Deutsche Welle, 30.11.15: [Commentary]: EU-Turkey Summit: Historic?
European Commission: DG Communication: RAPID: STATEMENT/15/6194, 29.11.15: Meeting of heads of state or government with Turkey - EU-Turkey statement, 29/11/2015
EUObserver, 30.11.15: Merkel creates EU core group on refugees, 30.11.15: Exodus to Europe: Juncker's surrender to Ankara (via Euro|Topics)
Kathimerini, 30.11.15: [Comment]: EU-Turkey deal is historic, if it sticks
Politico, 01.12.15: [Opinion]: Europe bribes Turkey
Euro|Topics: Main Focus, 01.12.15: New EU accession prospects for Turkey
EUObserver, 01.12.15: [Opinion]: What they didn't tell you at the EU-Turkey summit
EP: EPRS: Briefing, December 2015: Outcome of the meeting of Heads of State or Government with Turkey on 29 November 2015: Post European Council Briefing
ECFR: Commentary, 03.12.15: Germany's hunt for a coalition of the willing

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