Turkey and the European Union are negotiating an ambitious
Here are elements of the planned deal, based on a draft statement prepared for a summit of EU leaders that starts Thursday. They hope to finalize the deal with Turkey on Friday.
Turkey would pledge to:
- Take back any future migrants who reach Greece from Turkey and fail to apply for asylum or have their claim rejected. In practice, this "temporary and extraordinary measure" would apply to the vast majority of arrivals.
- Grant anyone in need of international protection - Syrians in particular - access to asylum procedures and internationally recognized rights, including the right not to be returned to a country where they face harm or persecution.
- Take "any necessary measures" to prevent new migration routes to the EU from opening up, be it by land or sea.
The EU would pledge to:
- Redistribute asylum seekers already in Greece across the bloc, under a previously agreed scheme. Economic migrants, who do not qualify for international protection, are to be returned to their country of origin.
- Ensure that anybody arriving in Greece via Turkey can seek asylum, have their claim individually assessed and appeal the decision. But their request would be declared inadmissible if they have arrived from a "safe third country" - a designation that would cover Turkey. This would lead to their return to Turkey.
- Help shoulder the cost of arrangements in Greece needed to process new arrivals, assess asylum claims and return people to Turkey. Under the plan, Turkish officials could be sent to the Greek islands to help with implementation.
- Directly resettle as many Syrians out of Turkey as the country takes back from the Greek islands - up to 72,000 refugees. Priority would be given to those who have not previously tried to enter the bloc by irregular means. The UN Refugee Agency would also be involved.
- Take in Syrian refugees from Turkey on a voluntary basis once irregular migration flows across the Aegean Sea have ended.
- Speed up the disbursement of a previously agreed 3 billion euros (3.3 billion dollars) aimed at improving the life of Syrian refugees in Turkey and, once this money is used up, stand ready to approve up to 3 billion euros in additional funding up to the end of 2018.
- Work with Turkey to remove visa requirements for its citizens visiting the EU by the end of June. To achieve this, Turkey must complete the remaining 37 out of 72 EU benchmarks before the end of April. EU governments and lawmakers would have a final say.
- Prepare the way for new negotiating chapters to be opened in Turkey's long-running EU membership bid. EU member states would have to approve any decision to open new chapters, which cover policy areas in which Ankara has to meet EU standards.
- Work with Turkey on any initiatives aimed at creating humanitarian safe zones within Syria, a concept that Ankara has long pushed for.