EU migrant crisis: Turkey and EU agree to principles of deal including resettlement policy in exchange for benefits for Turkey

James Nickerson
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Migrants Continue To Arrive On Greek Island Of Kos
It is hoped the deal with deter migrants from taking the Balkans route to Europe (Source: Getty)

The European Union and Turkey have agreed on a broad outline on how to tackle the ongoing migrant crisis at a summit of leaders in Brussels.

The deal will give benefits to Turkey in exchange for the the country taking back all economic migrants reaching the Greek islands in an effort to close off the Balkans route.

The final deal is expected to come at a meeting next week. However, leaders could face an uphill battle, given some elements of he deal are contentious, such as Ankara recognising Cyprus and its Greek-Cypriot government.

‚ÄčRead more: Leaders gather for emergency summit on migrant crisis

In exchange for each Syrian migrant returned, Turkey wants the EU to accept one refugee, as well as incentivise the country by offering extra funding and early access to European visas.

The EU will also speed up plans to allow Turkish people to move freely in Europe without visas, and plans for membership talks will be accelerated.

The deal was put forward by Turkey ahead of the summit yesterday, with uncertainty over whether a deal would be done. Yet, European Council President Donald Tusk said leaders had made a "breakthrough", and he was hopeful of concluding a deal next week.

Turkish Prime Miniser Ahmet Davutoglu said at a news conference after the summit that Turkey had made a "bold decision to accept all irregular illegal migrants... based on the assumption that for every one Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands another Syrian will be resettled by Europe".

Read more: Schengen zone country Austria to cap migrant numbers

The deal comes amidst the biggest migrant crisis since World War Two. Last year, more than a million entered the EU by boat, mostly travelling from Turkey to Greece, with 13,000 people currently stuck on Greece's border with Macedonia.

It is hoped that expect that a tough returns policy agreed will dissuade migrants and result in just tens of thousands and not hundreds of thousands of resettlements being required over coming months.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday announced the UK military will join Nato forces intercepting and returning migrants to reach Europe From Turkey.

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