On 29 November 2015, EU heads of state or government held a meeting with Turkey. The meeting marked an important step in developing EU-Turkey relations and contributing to managing the migration crisis.
European Council President Donald Tusk chaired the meeting, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu represented Turkey.
The EU and Turkey agreed to re-energise Turkey's accession process to the European Union. High-level dialogue between both parties will be reinforced through more frequent and structured meetings including the organisation of summits twice a year.
Regular summits will provide a platform to assess the development of Turkey-EU relations and discuss international issues.
"We do not expect anyone to guard our borders for us. (...) But we expect a major step towards changing the rules of the game when it comes to stemming the migration flow that is coming to the EU via Turkey."
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council
A Joint Action Plan has been adopted at the meeting to deal with the refugee crisis created by the situation in Syria. The EU and its member states will increase their cooperation with Turkey and step up their political and financial engagement substantially.
The EU is committed to provide an initial €3 billion euro of additional resources to Turkey to help it cope with the high numbers of Syrian refugees currently in the country.
With the implementation of the action plan, both sides will step up their active cooperation on migrants who are not in need of international protection:
Leaders welcomed the intention of Turkey to further improve the situation of the Syrians under temporary protection and remain committed to fight against criminal smuggling networks.
The EU and Turkey also agreed to apply from June 2016 the readmission agreement. They are aiming to complete the visa liberalization process, and the lifting of visa requirements for Turkish citizens in the Schengen zone, by October 2016.
The leaders announced an Intergovernmental Conference on 14 December 2015 to open chapter 17 of the accession process, on further economic integration with Turkey. The European Commission will start the preparation work on further chapters without prejudice to the position of member states.
Out of 35 negotiating chapters with Turkey, 14 chapters have been opened and 1 of these has been provisionally closed.
The decision to hold a meeting between the EU 28 leaders and Turkey followed a series of high level talks between the European Commission and Turkey as well as a number of bilateral meetings by President Tusk with President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Davutoğlu.
EU leaders discussed the importance of stepping up cooperation with Turkey on the migration crisis at their meetings in October and November.
The timeline outlines the main measures taken by the EU, together with the member states, over the last few months, to address the challenges created by migration.
See also the relevant policy page on our website: