Germany’s lower house of parliament welcomes the country’s chancellor.
Angela Merkel spoke to the Bundestag the day before a crucial EU summit begins in Brussels.
Merkel reassured the assembly that while an EU deal with Turkey offers the first real chance of solving the crisis, it will not be signed at any cost.
“It remains the case that EU accession talks with Turkey will continue with no guarantee or expectation over the outcome. Turkish accession to the EU is not on the agenda right now.”
Under the proposed plan, Turkey will take back those who try to enter the EU illegally.
In return, EU member states will take equivalent numbers of legitimate Syrian refugees from Turkey.
What Merkel said – tweet by tweet
Beginning her speech to the Bundestag, Angela Merkel insisted human rights and humanitarian values must be adhered to.’
“We have to solve this situation with human rights and humanitarian values. Asylum seekers do not have a right to choose where they go”— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) March 16, 2016
The German Chancellor then went on to describe Turkey as ‘the most important transit country’ in the crisis.
“I am asking them to trus the Greek government. In future, fewer people must enter the EU. Turkey by far the most important transit country”— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) March 16, 2016
Despite its key role, ‘outstanding issues remain to be negotiated with Turkey’.
“We have a lot of work still to do because of Cyprus unsolved issue and also pending legal questions with Turkey”— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) March 16, 2016
‘This does not mean we will ignore issues of press freedom and the rights of the Kurdish minority,’ Merkel continued.
“Does not mean we ignore freedom of press standards or the needs of the Kurdish minority”— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) March 16, 2016
Regarding the three billion euros already given to Ankara and the proposed three billion more, ‘money is available for Turkey but we must see a return in benefit” Merkel warned.
“3bn euros already granted, we want people returned for that money. Turkey's call for more money understandable but must see benefit.”— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) March 16, 2016
Allowing visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish nationals will be discussed at the summit. ‘EU visa liberalisation plan will be accelerated. Turkey has offered to do more in return’.
“Turkey pushing for acceleration, offering to take illegals sooner in exchange for 3 months quicker process for visa system.”— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) March 16, 2016
Admitting that the Dublin Agreement and Schengen are ‘not working for Europe at the moment’, Merkel said solutions must be found.
“Must find solutions and adaptation for Dublin agreement. Protect Schengen in the long-term.”— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) March 16, 2016
National considerations have been paramount in this crisis and it has been difficult to achieve consensus. ‘The EU will only find a solution to the crisis if member states pull together’, said the leader of its most influential member state.
“We agree crisis needs to be solved. Must work together. That, for me, is progress.” – Merkel live@euronews in German parliament— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) March 16, 2016
“Must find a European solution that works. We need a Europe in which common challenges met by solidarity and common action.”— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) March 16, 2016
“Solidarity and common action are key”, Merkel reminded her colleagues.