EU leaders met with Turkey at the first EU-Turkey Summit last Sunday.

The Summit aimed to renew the relationship between the two sides given their recent challenges - not least the issue of refugee flows arriving to Europe through Turkey. A range of important issues were discussed such as counter-terrorism, energy, trade, as well as geostrategic issues of common concern.

The conclusions of the Summit included a commitment to restart the negotiating process for Turkish EU membership, to start the visa liberalisaiton process for Turkish citizens and 3 billion euros in aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey through a new Refugee Facility. 

"For Europe, Turkey is key to stemming the refugee crisis in the short term. The fact that an agreement was reached on Sunday between the EU and Turkey is therefore positive. We strongly believe that the EU and Turkey should be close partners," said Manfred Weber, the Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, following the EU-Turkey Summit of 29 November.

Turkey must prove that it is ready to cooperate. This means decisive measures against human traffickers and a clear reduction in the number of migrants that come to Europe via Turkey. Manfred Weber

"But the agreement is not a blank cheque. It does come with some bitter pills. It is clear that it is no more than a basis which will have to be worked on. There are many issues that will have to be discussed in detail. Before we in the European Parliament start discussing particular issues, Turkey must prove that it is ready to cooperate. This means decisive measures against human traffickers and a clear reduction in the number of migrants that come to Europe via Turkey," Manfred Weber said.

The EPP Group will continue to criticise any violation of human rights, freedom of press and freedom of thought that occurs in Turkey

"Turkey also needs Europe as a partner. Ankara should therefore not overstate its demands. The EPP Group will continue to criticise any violation of human rights, freedom of press and freedom of thought that occurs in Turkey," Manfred Weber concluded.

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