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Rolling coverage of the European Council

Brussels, 15-16 October 2015


  1. 07:10: Summit conclusions here:
  2. 03:10 The main story tonight is about Turkey. Read it here:
  3. 02:05 EurActiv's night team says goodnight. Wrap-up story to follow soon. Our morning team will take over from around 9:00.
  4. 02:04 AFP report from the summit.

    EU leaders approved Thursday an action plan with Turkey to help stem the flood of migrants in return for concessions from Brussels, including easier visa access.
  5. "Our intensified meetings with Turkish leaders ... were devoted to one goal: stemming the migratory flows that go via Turkey to the EU. The action plan is a major step in this direction," European Council President Donald Tusk said after a summit of all 28 EU leaders in Brussels.
  6. Tusk said Turkey would have to meet its commitments to help control the flow of migrants, mostly fleeing the war in Syria, and ensure that their asylum requests were properly dealt with.
  7. European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said the European Union had agreed to speed up work on easing visa access for Turkey, a candidate for EU membership, but he stressed Ankara would not get a free ride.
  8. "We have agreed with our Turkish partners that the visa liberalisation process will be accelerated but this does not mean that we will step away from the basic criteria."
  9. Juncker said there would be a clear link between granting Turkey easier visa access, as would be expected for a country seeking EU membership, and its commitment to helping manage the migrant crisis. Turkey is home to some 2.2 million Syrian refugees and the action plan provides for increased EU financial and technical aid to help Ankara cope with them.
  10. Turkey's EU accession talks have been stalled amid concerns over its human rights record and suspicions it has its own agenda in Syria.
  11. 02:00 AFP reports from Bulgaria on tonight's shooting of an Afghan migrant at the border between Bulgaria and Turkey:
  12. An Afghan migrant was shot trying to cross into Bulgaria from Turkey late Thursday and died on his way to hospital, the interior ministry said.
  13. "A big group of illegal migrants attempted to enter Bulgaria from Turkey. One man suffered a gunshot wound in the incident and died on the way to hospital," an interior ministry spokeswoman told AFP.
  14. The incident happened near the southeastern Bulgarian town of Sredets Thursday evening, she said, adding that the dead migrant was from Afghanistan.
  15. Public BNR radio cited ministry sources as saying that the group of 48 illegal migrants from Afghanistan was armed and aggressive and refused to obey an order by the Bulgarian border guards to stop and turn back.
  16. The man was either wounded by a ricochet when police fired warning shots in the air or he was directly shot at, the radio said.
  17. The ministry has not confirmed the report.
  18. This is the first serious incident with migrants in the European Union's non-Schengen zone member Bulgaria, which was so far bypassed by migrants heading to western Europe. It prompted Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to leave an EU summit in Brussels on the migrant crisis and fly back home late Thursday.
  19. 01:35 We’re told the language that secured final agreement on the summit conclusions, after the disagreements on permanent relocation, was this typical EU compromise. They’ve kicked the can down the road…again.
  20. “There are however other important priority actions that require further discussions in the relevant fora, including Commission proposals. And there is a need for continuing reflection on the overall migration and asylum policy of the EU. The European Council will keep developments under review.”
  21. 01: 32 Here are the Council conclusions: