EU agrees terms of "one in, one out" migration deal with Turkey

Leaders of the 28 EU member states have been meeting in Brussels

EU agrees terms of "one in, one out" migration deal with Turkey

Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu (left) and President of France Francois Hollande (right) | Image: © European Union

European Union leaders have approved the terms of a controversial "one in, one out" deal with Turkey, intended to halt illegal migration to Europe.

After a morning of talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, European Council President Donald Tusk recommended that the 28 EU member states approve the text without changes and they rapidly agreed at a summit lunch in Brussels.

"Agreement with Turkey approved. All illegal migrants who arrive to Greece from Turkey starting March 20 will be returned!" Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka tweeted from inside the meeting.

A senior EU official said Mr Davutoglu had indicated Ankara would accept the proposal if the EU leaders approved it.

The leaders of the 28 EU member states have been meeting in Brussels to discuss a plan aimed at easing Europe's worst migration crisis since World War II.

The proposal on the table, described as a "one in, one out" policy, would see migrants who arrive in Greece, but who do not qualify for asylum, sent back to Turkey.

For every person that Turkey accepts, a Syrian refugee would be resettled in Europe.

Turkey is also asking the EU for billions in additional financial aid, an acceleration of its bid for EU membership and visa-free travel for Turkish citizens to the EU.

Reporter in Brussels, Sophy Ridge, said whatever is agreed on paper may not deter the wave of desperate refugees on the move.

"Leaders may be desperate for a deal, but many think its unenforceable, some even illegal," she said.

"The concerns over visa-free travel for Turks won't go away. Turkey's price, they say, is simply too high".

She added: "The aim of this summit was to break the traffickers' business model and to send a message that the unofficial routes to Europe will no longer work".

"But these are desperate refugees, and if one route closes to them they may make other, more perilous, journeys".

Meanwhile, the Médecins Sans Frontières in Ireland has condemned the EU-Turkey deal.

They say the arrangement is designed to stop the arrival of people in to the EU and to outsource 'management' to Turkey.

Jane-Ann McKenna, Director of MSF is concerned that peoples rights and wellbeing are not a priority: