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Merkel says ‘not worried’ about EU-Turkey migrant deal

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a press conference together with Italian Prime Minister in Rome's Palazzo Chigi on May 5, 2016. EU president Donald Tusk travels to Rome Thursday with fellow EU institution leaders and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for two days of talks likely to focus on next steps in Europe's migrant crisis. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who fears Italy becoming the new migrant frontline after the closure of the Balkan route, will host the first day of talks, followed by Pope Francis on Friday.  / AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a press conference together with Italian Prime Minister in Rome’s Palazzo Chigi on May 5, 2016.<br />EU president Donald Tusk travels to Rome Thursday with fellow EU institution leaders and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for two days of talks likely to focus on next steps in Europe’s migrant crisis. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who fears Italy becoming the new migrant frontline after the closure of the Balkan route, will host the first day of talks, followed by Pope Francis on Friday.<br />/ AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday brushed off concerns about a landmark EU-Turkey deal designed to stem the flow of migrants to Europe after critical comments by her Turkish counterpart.

“I am not worried,” Merkel told reporters. “Maybe some issues will require more time, but in principle we, for our part, will stick to the agreement.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday warned the European Union that the Turkish parliament would block laws related to the deal if Ankara was not granted its key demand of visa-free travel.

The stark warning came amid spiralling tensions between the Turkish leader and the EU over a string of issues ranging from existing accords to human rights.

There have been growing indications Turks will not be given the visa-free travel by the target of the end of June, and Merkel warned after talks with Erdogan on Monday that the target was unlikely to be met.

EU leaders are insisting that Turkey abide by 72 conditions before the visa exemption takes place, with a demand to change counter-terrorism laws proving particularly contentious.

The EU wants Ankara to narrow its definition of terror to stop prosecuting academics and journalists for publishing “terror propaganda”.



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