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EU, Turkey Seek To Solve Migrant Crisis


European Council President Donald Tusk speaks at a news conference after the Valletta Summit on Migration, followed by an informal meeting of European Union heads of state and government in Valletta earlier in Novembeer.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is meeting with European Union leaders in Brussels in an attempt to reach a deal to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.

Europe's leaders are expected to offer Turkey 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion), the easing of visa restrictions, and the fast-tracking of its EU membership process.

In return, Ankara is supposed to tighten border security and take back migrants who don't qualify for asylum in Europe.

The draft deal, seen by the Reuters news agency, is clear about the nature of the trade-off, which would involve Turkey's help in managing the flow of migrants to the EU, and the EU offering cash and restarting talks on EU accession.

The EU money is meant to improve the livelihood of the 2.2. million Syrians now living in Turkey, so that they will be less likely to want to leave for Europe.

"I want there to be an agreement so that Turkey takes on commitments, Europe supports it, and the refugees can be welcomed," French President Francois Hollande said in Brussels.

After arriving for the talks in Brussels, Turkish Davutoglu said that it was a "new beginning" for Turkey's efforts to become an EU member.

"Today is a historic day in our accession process to the EU," Davutoglu told reporters.

European Council President Donald Tusk said that, beyond getting a deal with Turkey, the most important issue "is our responsibility and duty to protect our external borders."

We cannot outsource this obligation to any third country," he said.

"Without control on our external borders, Schengen will become history," Tusk said before the EU-Turkey meeting, making a reference to the European Union zone where there is free movement across national frontiers.

Diplomats said the 28 EU governments had struggled the day before to agree to a final offer.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the EU cannot give Turkey a "blank check," and added that his country is not ready yet to provide the funds.

Fueled by the Syrian war, some 900,000 people have entered the EU this year in what has become Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War II.

In a recent membership report, the EU criticized the Turkish government's interference with its justice system and the government's pressure on the media.

With reporting by AP, BBC, and Reuters
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