EU leaders reconfirmed their commitment to implement priority actions agreed to in September. They also endorsed the new joint Action Plan with Turkey on support to refugees and migration.
To provide a European response to the refugee crisis, EU Heads of State and Government promised to speedily carry out the agreed priority actions. They did so in response to the European Commission's report published on Wednesday, which showed some progress but also serious shortfalls in meeting commitments.
Member States notably affirmed their commitment to match financial contributions from the EU budget.
They also gave their full support to the efforts so far underway to ensure the identification, registration, fingerprinting and reception of applicants for international protection, including through the establishment of further hotspots.
They endorsed the joint Action Plan with Turkey on support for refugees and migration management that had been finalised earlier on the same day during a visit by First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Hahn in Turkey. The Member States expressed their willingness to increase cooperation with Turkey and to step up their political and financial engagement to the country.
They agreed to strengthen the EU's external borders, by fully, making use of Frontex and going beyond its current mandate to make it more operational, by giving it powers to return irregular migrants on its own initiative, which will make it more proactive in protecting the European Union's external borders.
The Commission is very satisfied with the results regarding the management of the refugee crisis and the fact that the European Council welcomed and endorsed our proposals. Progress was made in all areas, helping to establish a comprehensive and effective European response to the refugee crisis.
The European Council also took stock of the discussions on the Economic and Monetary Union and the next steps towards a fair deal for Britain. They were also informed of the preparations for the Paris climate conference.