Turkey and the EU have reached a controversial deal European leaders hope will stop the flow of refugees to the continent in return for political and financial concessions for Ankara. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and EU President Donald Tusk confirmed the agreement, which will come into force on Sunday, at a press conference in Brussels after three rounds of talks.
The accord aims to close the main route by which a million people poured across the Aegean Sea to Greece in the last year before marching north to Germany and Sweden. But deep doubts remain about whether it is legal or workable, a point acknowledged even by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who has been the key driving force behind the agreement.
“I have no illusions that what we agreed today will be accompanied by further setbacks. There are big legal challenges that we must now overcome,” Merkel said after the 28 EU leaders concluded the deal with Davutoglu. Leaders of the bloc had agreed on Thursday on a common plan under which Turkey would be given financial and political concessions in return for taking back all refugees who reached Greek islands off its coast.