Orban vetoes EU-Turkey proposal on transferring refugees – UPDATE
Brussels, March 7 (MTI) – Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Monday vetoed a proposal to make direct transfers of refugees from Turkey to Europe, and the European summit of heads of government and state has been aborted and separate bilateral agreements are being thrashed out, MTI’s Brussels correspondent reported.
The putative EU-Turkey deal includes doubling European funds worth 3 billion euros to help Turkey handle refugees and abolishing the visa requirement for Turkish citizens travelling to the EU, according to a leak of the agreement. In return, Turkey would agree to temporarily take back migrants who illegally crossed into Greece unless they are entitled to asylum in the EU. At the same time, the EU would agree to direct transfers of Syrian refugees from Turkey.
A European Council spokesman confirmed that the summit has been suspended for a short time and that the 28 leaders of EU member states would resume negotiations in the coming period. Preben Aamann said that it was certain that a smaller circle of leaders were carrying on with talks.
MTI’s correspondent cited unnamed sources as saying that several leaders of EU member states had stated several objections to the proposals.
Government spokesman Zoltán Kovács told public news television M1 that Orbán had openly opposed the proposal aimed at direct transfers of refugees from Turkey to Europe even before the summit, and said that a “completely new approach” was needed.
Hungary’s position concerning easing or lifting European visa requirements for Turkish nationals is clear, Kovács said, adding that those benefits should be granted to Ukraine before they are to Turkey.