French Pres. rules out granting Turkey concessions over migrants deal

PARIS, March 12 (KUNA) — French President Francois Hollande said Saturday that the EU must not grant Turkey any concessions on human rights or visa waiver in exchange for guarantees to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.
“There cannot be any concessions on the matter of human rights or the criteria for visa waiver,” Hollande told reporters ahead of the resumption next week of negotiations between Turkey and the EU in Brussels.
Hollande spoke after meeting in Paris on Saturday with more than a dozen social democrat leaders from the EU, including Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.
Under a controversial draft deal reached this week, Turkey would take back all migrants landing in Greece in a bid to reduce their incentive to pay smugglers for dangerous crossings to the Greek islands in rickety boats.
In return for every Syrian sent back from Greece, the EU would resettle one Syrian refugee from camps in Turkey — which is hosting about 2.7 million people who have fled the conflict across the border.
Turkey is also demanding EUR six billion (USD 6.6 billion) in aid, visa-free access for its nationals within Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone and for swifter action to process its bid to join the EU. (end) mmb.hb