UPDATE: 5:12 p.m. EST -- Hungary announced Monday it is considering vetoing the proposed plan to help Turkey resettle refugees who entered Europe from Turkey, according to the Associated Press. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu earlier in the day made the proposal, but a spokesman for Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban expressed disapproval at that notion. Instead, Hungary said it would cut funding and other aid that supports refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers.
Meanwhile European Union leaders announced that their negotiations into attempting to stem the tide of refugees entering Europe will have to be continued after they were unable to reach an agreement Monday, according to an anonymous EU official who was quoted by the Daily Mail when talking about the proposal from Turkey.
"Several countries really like the idea but cannot accept a deal tonight because of the very short preparation time," the official said. "They will welcome the higher ambition but they can't nail down all the points today."
UPDATE: 1:41 p.m. EST -- NATO patrols in the Aegean Sea to prevent refugees and migrants from crossing into Europe should begin immediately, according to a statement released by Greece Monday after a migration summit was held in Brussels, according to a new report.
"The defense minister told the NATO secretary general about the need for an immediate start of the activities on the entire territory along the Greek islands, from Limnos to Kastellorizo and Gavdos and along the coast of the Anatolian peninsula. Greek positions were received," the statement said in part, reported Sputnik News, which was referring to Greek Defense Minister Pano Kammenos.
Reuters reported that Britain and France have already sent ships to the Aegean Sea to patrol for migrant smuggling vessels.
The summit produced a draft of a plan Monday to have Turkey accept all migrants and refugees who crossed into Europe illegally so that they may be processed officially and admitted by the EU from Turkey. If the plan is accepted, it would also call for one Syrian refugee to be sent to Turkey from Greece for each migrant who is also sent to Turkey, according to a Reuters news alert.
UPDATE: 12:46 p.m. EST -- The talks between Turkey and the European Union to confront the continent's growing refugee crisis have ended for the day, but not before word got out to Reuters that Turkey has been encouraged by the discourse during the meeting Monday.
EU leaders "are offering more and demanding more," an unidentified EU official told the news agency, reported Turkish Minute.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu reportedly proposed "new ideas" that went beyond what it initially offered, though no details of those new ideas were immediately available.
The developments at the meeting held in Brussels came as Europe was set to close its main migration route Monday. EU leaders are trying to finalize a deal that will send refugees and migrants back to Turkey, but the details have yet to be finalized.
The European Union is willing to offer some $3.3 billion to help Turkey shelter Syrian refugees, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters. The decision comes as European leaders hosted a summit Monday with the Turkish prime minister on how to handle Europe’s worst refugee crisis in decades.
“The EU would offer a further 3 billion euros until the end of 2018 to help Turkey shelter Syrians, doubling the amount of an earlier offer,” the letter read. “And it would ease visa requirements for Turks wishing to visit Europe’s Schengen area by the end of June, earlier than had been planned.”
Turkey currently hosts more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees. The EU is pushing for Turkey to take back thousands of non-Syrian migrants who do not qualify for asylum in European countries. In return, Turkey is hoping for accelerated talks on EU membership and expanded financial support.
Among the proposals Monday, Turkey would take back migrants and refugees from the Greek islands, and the EU would directly admit an equal number of Syrian refugees from Turkey. Refugees fleeing war-ravaged Syria as well as migrants fleeing violence and conflict elsewhere in the Middle East often travel through Turkey in order to reach Europe. More than a million such people entered Europe last year, mainly crossing illegally by boat from Turkey into Greece.
— Volkan Bozkir (@volkan_bozkir) March 7, 2016
Eight countries have imposed border controls, and thousands of migrants are trapped in Greece after Macedonia severely restricted border crossings. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees into Germany, said she was expecting a “difficult discussion,” as European countries have differed on route closures.
"Today is about finding a lasting solution together with Turkey … trying to find a way to stop illegal migration and improving the living conditions for the refugees," she said.
All 28 EU leaders were expected to continue through a second session and a dinner with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. European leaders believe Turkey’s role is critical in stemming the flow of migration into the continent.