Ahead of an emergency European Union summit on Monday, the EU executive announced the first payouts from a 3 billion euro fund to help Turkey cope with the refugees on its soil. David Pollard reports.
If no agreement comes at Monday's summit, the EU could run out of chances to solve its migrant crisis. So say EU leaders amid a frenzied effort to lay groundwork for the Brussels meeting. Germany and France getting together in Paris, and Greek party bosses holding talks in Athens, where EU Council President Donald Tusk made this plea. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT, DONALD TUSK, SAYING: "Do not come to Europe. Do not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your lives and your money, it is all for nothing. Greece or any other European country will no longer be a transit country." That is, if EU leaders succeed in getting Turkey to stem the migrant flow through its territory. Tens of thousands entering and now stranded in Greece as its neighbours impose border controls. Greece will benefit from a 700 million euro aid programme announced on Wednesday - money it may need to help block a widening budget gap. But Turkey also set to get cash: the first from a three billion euro fund just announced by the European Commission, along with a timetable for restoring the open borders of the Schengen agreement. Simon Smith of FXPro. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FXPRO, HEAD OF RESEARCH, SIMON SMITH, SAYING: "It is naturally affecting some countries far more than others, and that creates political tensions as we've seen in Germany as well because they were in the early days, they were welcoming a lot more migrants than other countries, and that was creating its own political tensions within the EU." The cost of inaction potentially much greater, according to the Commission. It says a collapse of passport-free travel in the 26-nation Schengen zone could cost the European economy up to 18 billion euros a year.