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Refugee crisis: EU and Turkey reach 'breakthrough' deal

Refugee Crises
Turkey and the European Union reached an agreement on a proposal to tackle the massive influx of refugees into Europe, as the United Nations expressed concern about the deal on Tuesday.

Donald Tusk, the European Council president, said the leaders had made a "breakthrough" that sent "a very clear message that the days of irregular migration to Europe are over".

The announcement came at the end of a long day of meetings in Brussels, during which Turkey is known to have asked for an additional $3.3bn in return for checking the flow of refugees across the Aegean Sea.

The next step involves the presentation of the proposal to EU leaders at a key European Council meeting due to be held on March 17 and 18.

The UN said it had reservations about any deal involving "the blanket return of all individuals from one country to another", without their protection under international law being spelled out adequately.

"Legal safeguards would need to govern any mechanism under which responsibility would be transferred for assessing an asylum claim," the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement.

Europe's commitments to resettle refugees remained "very low compared to the needs, 20,000 places within two years on a voluntary places", it said.

Turkey is due to receive $3.3bn until the end of 2018 to cover the costs of dealing with refugees, but it reportedly asked for double the amount during Monday's talks.

Note EU-Digest: this is a good step forward - but hopefully there will also be an addendum to the treaty which reads: "cash only on delivery".

Read more: Refugee crisis: EU and Turkey reach 'breakthrough' deal - AJE News

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