Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu has made a new proposal for tackling the refugee crisis at a summit in Brussels, leading EU leaders to extend the meeting. However, no further details of the new offer have been revealed.
"There is a new proposal. We are trying to open the way to solve this process, that's why this is a new proposal," Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's spokesman told reporters.
He refused to give details of the new offer, but he added: "We are not here just to talk about migrants. Of course, Turkey's EU accession process is an issue for us here."
Davutoglu said Ankara was willing to take back all non-Syrian migrants denied asylum in Europe as well as all those intercepted in its territorial waters, and to crack down harder on people smugglers, they said.
An emergency EU-Turkey summit, originally planned to last half a day, was extended to give Davutoglu a chance to present "new ideas" going beyond Ankara's commitments so far.
EU diplomats said that at a preparatory meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Sunday night, Davutoglu demanded more than the 3 billion euros ($3.29 billion) already offered by the EU to support Syrian refugees in Turkey.
German chancellor resists EU's Balkan route 'closure'
The German chancellor has opposed a part of the EU summit draft text declaring that the Balkan route through Europe "is now closed." EU and Turkish leaders have met in Brussels to discuss ways to stem the migrant flow.
Merkel said the EU's response to the issue "cannot be about closing things." Instead, she called for a "sustainable solution together with Turkey" to ensure that migration flows reduced for "all countries, including Greece."
A draft statement from the European Council which went public on Saturday had said Brussels planned to close the route in an effort to prevent more migrants from moving north into Europe on land. However, German newspaper "Bild" reported that Merkel rejected the plan upon her arrival in Brussels, with support from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
"It cannot be about closing things," the newspaper quoted her as saying. Reporting from Brussels, DW correspondent Max Hofmann said they were at work rewriting the sentence in the draft paper.
jil/tj (Reuters, AFP)