"We are and have always been the greatest supporter of the Turkey's integration to the European Union. Hence, we welcome the idea of opening new, relevant negotiation chapters. We also consider Turkey as a central partner in facing the migration crisis, as well as a major player in solving the conflict in Syria. However, the respect for fundamental rights must be combined with the EU's long-term strategy of greater cooperation with Turkey. Human rights, press freedom and minority rights must be guaranteed and empowered throughout the whole of Turkey. I want to make this very clear to Donald Tusk, especially now as decisive elections are imminent in Turkey.
"We reiterated our urgent call for the creation of a permanent and binding mechanism on migration and asylum that moves beyond the anachronistic Dublin agreement. Likewise it is of fundamental importance that legal pathways to the EU are created for economic migrants.
"Last but not least, we urge the Council and all member states to use the La Valletta summit as an occasion to put in place a comprehensive strategy with African countries; one which embraces not only the migration dimension, but also a real economic and political long-term partnership in order to boost the socio-economic development of the continent."