The refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union should not collapse, Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister Karl Erjavec said on Thursday.
“Relations between the European Union and Turkey are vital for the stability of the region [Balkans],” Erjavec, who is also a foreign affairs minister, told Anadolu Agency in Ankara.
“In case Turkey abandons refugee deal, peace and stability will be badly affected. So, dialogue needs to continue," he added.
In March 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a refugee deal which aimed at discouraging irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking strict measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of the nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Turkish authorities previously said the refugee deal could collapse if the EU fails to provide Turkey with the promised visa liberalization by the end of this year.
Turkey has so far met most requirements for visa liberalization, but the EU’s demands for change in Ankara’s anti-terrorism laws led to a deadlock in negotiations.
Praising Turkey’s contribution to the recent refugee crisis, Slovenian deputy premier said: “Both the EU and Turkey should take responsibility on this field.”
Erjavec also stated that the recent financial crisis in Europe, refugee crisis and terror incidents have badly affected the EU’s enlargement policy.
“In my opinion, Turkey’s EU membership is surely important but Turkey is already a part of Europe,” the Slovenian minister added.
Reporting by Meltem Bulur;Writing by Nilay Kar