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Migrants: what Merkel said to her parliament

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By Catherine Hardy  with AFP
Migrants: what Merkel said to her parliament

The news

Germany’s lower house of parliament welcomes the country’s chancellor.

Turkish accession to the EU is not on the agenda right now

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.

Euronews live-tweeted Angela Merkel’s speech to the Bundestag – see below

What Merkel said – tweet by tweet

Beginning her speech to the Bundestag, Angela Merkel insisted human rights and humanitarian values must be adhered to.’

The German Chancellor then went on to describe Turkey as ‘the most important transit country’ in the crisis. Despite its key role, ‘outstanding issues remain to be negotiated with Turkey’.

‘This does not mean we will ignore issues of press freedom and the rights of the Kurdish minority,’ Merkel continued. 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.

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’. Admitting that the Dublin Agreement and Schengen are ‘not working for Europe at the moment’, Merkel said solutions must be found.

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.
“Solidarity and common action are key”, Merkel reminded her colleagues.