19:19 GMT +315 October 2019
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    A man walks past the European Commission headquarters in Brussels April 9, 2015

    EC Proposes Voluntary Resettlement Plan for Syrian Refugees From Turkey

    © REUTERS / Yves Herman
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    The European Commission proposed a new scheme on Tuesday to resettle Syrian refugees from Turkey to Europe.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In late November, the European Commission held a joint summit with Turkey. Following the meeting, a deal was agreed upon, under which Turkey promised to prevent refugees currently in the country from travelling to Europe in return for financial assistance and renewed talks on its EU accession. At the time, the European Commission announced it would prepare proposals to voluntarily resettle refugees residing in Turkey throughout the European Union by December 15.

    "Ahead of the European Council [meeting on Thursday], the European Commission has today presented a Recommendation for a voluntary humanitarian admission scheme to create a system of solidarity and responsibility sharing with Turkey for the protection of persons displaced by the conflict in Syria to Turkey," the European Union's executive body said in a statement.

    The European Commission’s plan is not mandatory for member states, and sets no minimum number of Syrian refugees that the countries would take.

    Turkey's now sheltering over 2 million Syrian refugees, and according to the European Commission's proposal, they must be resettled between 2016 and 2020.

    On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and some other EU leaders supporting the the voluntary resettlement plan are expected to meet ahead of the EU regular summit in Brussels.

    In recent months, the European Union has been struggling to cope with a massive influx of refugees, many of whom have fled conflict-torn Syria. Turkey currently hosts the largest share of Syrian refugees.


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