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Liberal leaders united on European Border and Coast Guard

  • "Turkey has to respect the 72 obligations that are needed for a VISA liberalisation," said ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt. (Photo: Itaka Media)

At the invitation of ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen MEP, ALDE Group leader in the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt, liberal heads of states and EU commissioners met at the Egmont Palace in Brussels on Thursday (17 March) ahead of the European Council Summit.

The latest developments on tackling the migration crisis, particularly EU-Turkey cooperation, and the need for establishing a European Border and Coast Guard were discussed.

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Commenting on the meeting, Van Baalen said: "At this liberal Pre-Summit we discussed the refugee crisis and the deal with Turkey, embedded in a broader programme of how to tackle migration including measures such as the European Border and Coast Guard. We all want these ideas to be successful in a European law framework."

Verhofstadt added: "Liberal leaders are all united in the request that we should start as soon as possible to establish a European Border and Coast Guard. It seems necessary for us and we also think it is legally possible according to EU treaties; it is a key solution for the future. Practical arrangements with Turkey are necessary but they will not solve the refugee crisis if they do not have a European Border and Coast Guard."

On future EU-Turkey relations, Verhofstadt concluded that Turkey must comply with the 72 obligations needed for VISA liberalisation and accession negotiations can only restart if the process begins with the chapters on justice, home affairs, freedom of the press, and rule of law.

On the refugee crisis, the deputy prime minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babiš said, "The solution is peace in Syria and Libya" followed by a Marshall Plan to help rebuild the countries. "With this Marshall Plan, European companies will have huge growth because you have to build a new country."

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This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

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