NewsLocalCyprus President in Brussels for EU summit, funds to Turkey for refugees...

Cyprus President in Brussels for EU summit, funds to Turkey for refugees under debate

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has joined EU heads of states and governments meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for a European Council.

The EU is considering 3.5 billion euros for Turkey to continue hosting Syrian refugees until 2024, insiders have said, part of a bigger regional refugee support plan to stop migrants reaching the bloc.

The total 5.77 billion euro package for Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, which goes to humanitarian projects and not governments, aims to prevent a new refugee influx into the EU.

The 27 leaders are expected to support the funding proposal by the executive European Commission.

However, unlike a previous 6-billion-euro round of funding that was partly paid for directly by EU governments, the money will come entirely from the EU’s common budget and so the European Parliament will need to give its approval.

That looks likely to reopen the EU’s tortured debate over relations with Turkey, which lawmakers have long accused of stifling media freedoms and imprisoning political opponents without proper trial, which Ankara also denies.

On Thursday, EU leaders will join a working lunch with UN Secretary General António Guterres.

Leaders’ discussions throughout Thursday and Friday will also focus on Covid-19, migration, economic recovery, Russia and other foreign relations issues including the Cyprus problem.

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