Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the European Council meeting of 15 October 2015
First of all, allow me to express cautious optimism, and I have to underline of course the word cautious. Tonight leaders took important decisions that will help secure the Union’s external borders.
We welcomed the agreement of an EU-Turkey joint action plan  to tackle the current migratory crisis. Our intensified meetings with Turkish leaders here in Brussels, Ankara, and in New York in the last couple of weeks, were devoted to one goal: stemming the migratory flows that go via Turkey to the EU. The action plan is a major step in this direction. Still, as I made clear from the very start, an agreement with Turkey makes sense only if it effectively contains the flow of refugees. Here let me thank Jean-Claude and the Commission for the great work in negotiating the action plan, it was really a demanding and difficult issue and all of us were very impressed by the effectiveness and impressive pace.
Second, we agreed to work on an integrated border management system that will go beyond the Frontex mandate. In the coming months, the agency will be developed into a more operational body. Our aim is to give Frontex the right to return irregular migrants on its own initiative, and to make it more proactive in protecting the external borders. In the meantime, Member States will be ready to send hundreds more border guards to Frontex and EASO to secure the hotspot areas in Greece and Italy.
Progress on genuine border security is in my opinion, a very important achievement of tonight. Not because I have advocated the need to protect the EU’s borders, but because it is our first obligation to protect the European community, and to guarantee public order. We have made a step in this direction.
Third, we also discussed broader challenges in order to be ready for a new influx of refugees next year. We had a debate on the future of the Dublin regulation, on the EU border guard system and on the specific role of hotspots. These are all divisive issues and the goal today was to have a first serious exchange of views on them. If we are not able to find humanitarian and efficient solutions, then others will find solutions which are inhumane, nationalistic and for sure not European.
And finally on Britain: I briefed leaders on the preparatory discussions between my officials and the UK over the last months. We welcomed Prime Minister Cameron’s commitment to set out the UK’s specific concerns in writing by early November.
Remarks by High Representative Mogherini after the European Council meeting of 15 October 2015
“I have to say implementation of the external steps of the agenda on migration is going rather well.
In this regard, preparations for the Valletta summit between the EU and its African partners on 11-12 November  are well advanced. The second senior officials’ meeting to prepare the summit took place yesterday and the High Representative will be in Addis Ababa meeting the African Union on Monday to continue preparations. Mogherini underlined that both the Syrian Trust Fund and the African Trust Fund have been mobilised, and she called on Member States to provide significant funding.
“The European Union budget is fully mobilised, both on the Syrian Trust Fund and on the African Trust Fund. So, the European Union money is there. I expect Member States to match the European Union budget. Member States need to put their money where the mouth is.”, she said.
On the Syrian crisis, Foreign Ministers on Monday adopted Council Conclusions which called on the High Representative to engage in intensive diplomacy in the region. Following this mandate, on Tuesday she met an Iranian delegation. Earlier today, she spoke to Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, to report on the state of discussions within the European Union and with regional partners.
European Council conclusions, 15 October 2015