Renzi satisfied at EU-Turkey deal

Ankara wins concessions on aid, accession process

(ANSA) - Rome, March 18 - Premier Matteo Renzi said after an EU-Turkey summit that a bilateral deal on migrants signed Friday respects "the requisites we gave ourselves... now we need to ensure it works as best as it can". "It respects the parameters we - and not only we - had set: there is an explicit reference to human rights, freedom of the press, and the founding values of Europe". "If we manage to save even just one child thanks to this accord, we will have done our duty," the Italian premier said of the accord, which was widely condemned by humanitarian organizations including the UNHCR refugee agency, Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam and Save the Children.
    Under the deal migrants who have reached Greece illegally will be sent back to Turkey, and there will be an acceleration in giving Ankara a first tranche of three billion euros, as well as the opening of a negotiating chapter on the budget for Turkey's accession to the EU. The accord aims to send tens of thousands of migrants back to Turkey from Greece. For each Syrian illegal sent back, the EU would agree to take in a Syrian refugee from Turkey. The deal also reportedly earmarks another three billion euros for Ankara and lifts visa requirements for Turkish citizens from June.
    Renzi pointed out that the deal signed today "refers explicitly to Libya and Africa". "To those who ask us to help them in their home countries, we say the road is one of international cooperation. Now the point is to translate words into actions," said Renzi, adding he is satisfied with the deal's "comprehensive approach". "I hope relocations (of refugees from Turkey to Europe) will take place - but...I won't believe it until I see it," the premier added. "In any case I see more awareness of the fact that we're facing a large-scale problem," he added.
    Turkey's joining the EU will take time, Renzi said. "The process of Turkey's entering the EU is very, very complex," Renzi said. "Today it was decided to take a step forward, but the road will be neither easy nor short". Renzi added that "for the record - compared to social media historians - in the past, both the right and the left, both (ex-premiers Silvio) Berlusconi and (Romano) Prodi were in favor of (Turkey's) entry...Those against were the Germans and most of all the French, who blocked that process when - to put it diplomatically - Turkey was far less beset by attacks and terrorist threats than it is today".