Written by Staff Writer
18 Mar, 2016 | 7:16 am
EU leaders have agreed a joint position to put to Turkey in an attempt to reach a deal over the migrant crisis, Luxembourg’s prime minster says.
Xavier Bettel said the common EU position would be put to Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday morning.
The proposed deal would see all migrants travelling to Greece from Turkey sent back.
In return it is thought the EU might offer Turkey financial aid and visa-free access to Schengen countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Turkey had to meet international standards of protection for all migrants.
She said that legal resettlement of Syrian refugees from Turkey to the EU under the deal could start a few days after the first returns from Greece.
However, she added that the EU needed to be ready to start returning migrants from Greece to Turkey rapidly to avoid a “pull factor” creating a surge of migrants before the new system takes effect.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has warned that the plan to return people to Turkey is “on the edge of international law” and difficult to implement.
Mr Davutoglu has said he will not accept Turkey becoming an “open prison” for migrants.
Since January 2015, a million migrants and refugees have entered the EU by boat from Turkey to Greece. More than 132,000 have arrived this year alone.
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