In their virtual meeting with Turkey’s president, top EU officials will aim to boost cooperation and develop a mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey, a top EU official told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to meet on Friday via videoconference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council head Charles Michel.
The negotiations will “focus on how to ensure stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and develop a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey,” said the EU official, who declined to be named.
According to the official, the leaders will likely discuss recent exploratory talks between Turkey and Greece on settling their dispute over the Eastern Mediterranean, the UN-led settlement process on the island of Cyprus, as well as recent developments in Libya and the region.
The talks are to be held in preparation for an EU leaders’ summit next week, when EU heads of state and government will discuss the future of the bloc's relationship with Ankara.
The topics of the future relationship between the bloc and Turkey range “from economy and trade to people-to-people contacts and mobility as well as migration cooperation and enhanced dialogue on a broad range of sectoral policy issues,” the official explained.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who was tasked to draft a report on the future of relations, suggested on Monday the renewal "in some form" of the 2016 EU-Turkey migration deal to stop irregular flows of asylum seekers to Europe and to improve the conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The agreement "has been very much criticized, but it seems that this statement has produced tangible results. It has led to a significant decrease of loss of human lives, a reduction in irregular crossing and improved the situation of refugees and migrants in Turkey," said Borrell.
Turkey has stressed the need for a better version of the 2016 agreement – saying the EU failed to fulfill its end of the deal – as well as a updated Turkey-EU Customs Union, visa liberalization, and other concrete steps its says the EU must take to prove its good will.
By Agnes Szucs in Brussels