European Parliament President Martin Schulz has said the EU will reach an agreement with Turkey on a deal aimed at stemming the flow of refugees coming into Europe via Greece.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels on Thursday, Schulz said: ''Common sense will prevail; we will reach an agreement with Turkey about the return of migrants who have reached Europe.''
''If we can’t have an agreement with Turkey about resettlement of refugees the number are just increasing. What will happen?'' Schulz said. ''This is why I hope we can reach an agreement with Turkey – at least they’re doing something about this; they’re talking to us. Some countries won’t even talk to us.''
All 28 EU heads of government are gathering in Brussels on Thursday to discuss how refugees and migrants entering Europe via Greece could be sent back to Turkey.
Under Turkey’s proposal to the EU, the country wants the 28-nation bloc to "share the burden'' based on a formula of "for every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU member states".
Ankara also wants visa liberalization by June, speeding up Turkey’s accession talks, and additional three billion euros [$3.4 billion] to meet the needs of Syrian refugees in the country.
Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of refugees have crossed the Aegean Sea to reach Greece. This has placed a huge strain on the austerity-hit EU member and threatened the EU’s internal open border system, as countries to the north of Greece impose frontier restrictions.