Addressing European heads of state and government on Friday, Donald Tusk argued that for the first time since the beginning of the migration crisis there is a European consensus emerging on how to tackle it. This is “a consensus around a comprehensive strategy that, if loyally implemented, can help stem the flows and tackle the crisis”, he said.
Achieving this means that they should “get back to Schengen”, Tusk argued, echoing the language used in the roadmap released the same day by the European Commission on restoring the full functioning of the Schengen area. Ending the so-called wave-through policy of migrants “will not solve the crisis but it is a necessary pre-condition” for this consensus.
Tusk also stressed that they need to scale up humanitarian assistance, in particular in Greece, referring to the European Commission's proposal earlier this week for a new Emergency Assistance instrument of €700 million. They should be using all available EU tools, he said, including accelerated relocation, to address the humanitarian consequences for the refugees in a speedy and effective way.
In terms of cooperation with Turkey, he underlined that, although there has been good progress in the EU-Turkey Action Plan, the number of illegal entries from Turkey to Greece “remains far too high”.
This final point will be the focus of a meeting taking place on Monday, where European leaders will be discussing the ongoing migration crisis with Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Speaking in Ankara earlier this week, Tusk said that they need to continue building consensus in this crisis “Member States as well as with our key partners”. The upcoming meeting will be used to "take stock of where our cooperation stands and set common priorities for the coming weeks and months."