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EU, Turkey bid for migrants deal

Friday, March 18, 2016 - 01:37

EU leaders inch closer to a deal with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants - but amid warnings that Cyprus and legal complexities could scupper any agreement, investors still see huge risks attached. Julian Satterthwaite reports.

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On the Greece-Macedonia border migrants hunker down for another cold night. 1,400 miles to the north their fate the subject of a late night for European politicians. EU leaders meeting in Brussels Thursday night to agree a new plan. They want Turkey to take back all migrants who reach Greece from its shores. In return the EU will take in Syrian refugees direct from Turkey and increase aid for Syrians there. Brussels would also speed Ankara's application for EU membership and ease visa rules for Turks. The French president says the deal is fair to both sides: (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, SAYING: "What I insisted upon was that this should be a comprehensive plan, which means it applies to Turkey, since Turkey will agree to readmit, to take back migrants who arrived from Turkey via Greece and who were not able to assert their rights, Turkey will take these migrants back." Just one problem: Turkey has still to agree to the plan. Talks with Ankara due Friday and the country's prime minister says he won't be a pushover: (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRIME MINISTER, AHMET DAVUTOGLU, SAYING: "We will not accept any proposal which will turn Turkey into an open migrant prison. Everyone must know that." Even if the Turks agree, EU support for the deal could collapse. Belgium and others warning against writing Ankara a blank cheque. Cyprus unhappy at talk of rapid progress on Turkey's EU membership bid. Now the goal is to reach agreement by Friday lunchtime. But there would be no surprise if lunch was served late.

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EU, Turkey bid for migrants deal

Friday, March 18, 2016 - 01:37