BERLIN The European Union may need to more than double financial aid already pledged to Turkey to help it keep millions of Syrian refugees on its soil, Germany's European Union Commissioner Guenther Oettinger was quoted as saying on Saturday.
The European Commission on Friday announced the first payouts from a 3 billion euro (2.3 billion pounds) fund to help Turkey pay for the needs of some 2.5 million refugees.
"Europe should hold out the prospect of further financial support to Turkey also beyond 2017," Oettinger told German magazine Der Spiegel.
"Taking over full costs of the services that Turkey is providing by accommodating and caring for the refugees, the bill could easily add up to six or seven billion euros per year," said Oettinger, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right party Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann proposed a new EU fund to finance the additional costs. "In the migrant crisis, we need joint European solutions," Faymann told the magazine.
"Therefore I suggest a fund in which each EU member state pays in, similar to the bank bailout. The money should be used to cover the costs of providing for the asylum seekers."
European Council President Donald Tusk, who on Friday held talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, will chair an emergency EU summit with Turkey on Monday aimed at strengthening cooperation to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Ros Russell)