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EU needs more time to agree Turkey migration plan: EU official

Refugees gather at a beach to try to sail to Greece from the western Turkish coastal town of Cesme, in Izmir province, Turkey, in this November 4, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/Files

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders will not be able to agree on Monday to an ambitious plan put forward by Turkey to stop migrants flooding into Europe but will welcome the proposals and keep working on them in coming days, an EU official said.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu surprised EU leaders at an emergency summit on the migration crisis by offering to take back all migrants and refugees who enter Europe from Turkey in future, in return for more money, faster visa-free travel for Turks and accelerated EU membership talks.

“Several countries really like the idea but cannot accept a deal tonight because of the very short preparation time. They will welcome the higher ambition but they can’t nail down all the points today,” the official said.

“There are some clarifications needed. We will work on it intensively in the coming days,” he added.

The summit was continuing and EU leaders were due to meet Davutoglu again for dinner later on Monday.

Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Alastair Macdonald