Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė is leaving for Brussels on Monday for a special European Council meeting to discuss measures to stem migrant flows to Europe in cooperation with Turkey and preserve the functioning of the Schengen passport-free area.
Dalia Grybauskaitė
© AFP/Scanpix

"Asylum seekers cannot dictate their terms to the EU or select a host country," Grybauskaitė said in the press release before departing for the meeting.

European leaders will meet with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in an effort to speed up the implementation of the EU-Turkey Action Plan, the President's Office said.

Under the plan, Turkey is committed to stemming migrant flows to Europe, returning economic migrants to their countries of origin and fighting criminal networks in a more effective way.

The EU has agreed to allocate €3 billion for the implementation of the action plan and to assist refugee camps in Turkey's territory. However, more than 120,000 people have already come to Europe from Turkey since the beginning of the year.

On the eve of the meeting, Grybauskaitė said the migration crisis would become manageable only when the flows of migrants are halted at the EU's external borders. Until this is done, individual countries are forced to take national measures – to restore internal border controls, as has already been done by Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Belgium.

This poses a threat to the Schengen area, Grybauskaitė said, as well as a risk of humanitarian crisis of refugees stranded in Greece.

The Lithuanian president emphasized that an agreement with Turkey is important for Lithuania, too. The migration route is constantly changing, and the Baltic country is at the EU's external border. Therefore, the management of migrant arrivals in Turkey is the best way to ensure that chaotic migration flows do not reach Lithuania.

In Brussels, leaders will discuss the European Commission's on preserving the Schengen area. The Lithuanian president has pointed out that all EU countries should apply the Schengen rules consistently and should not allow illegal migrants and people without documents to cross borders.

BNS
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