UN doubts legality of EU-Turkey deal on migration

European officials begin intense week of negotiations in a bid to secure agreement

EU Council President Donald Tusk says Turkey deal means days of irregular migration are over. Video: Reuters

 

The European Union is facing an uphill battle to convince member states of the merits of an EU-Turkey deal proposed on Monday, after the United Nations and human rights groups questioned its legality.

Just hours after EU leaders endorsed the broad outline of a new agreement with Turkey at a summit in Brussels, the UN warned a blanket return of foreigners to a third country was not consistent with international law.

Under the proposal, Turkey would reaccept illegal migrants from Greece provided that refugees are resettled from Turkey.

In exchange, the EU is considering doubling its funding to Ankara to € 6 billion by 2018 and lifting visa requirements for Turkish citizens travelling to the Schengen visa-free travel zone by June.

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With EU leaders due to consider the proposal again at a summit next Thursday and Friday in Brussels, EU officials have begun an intense week of negotiations in a bid to secure agreement.

Despite news of a provisional deal to halt migration into Greece, more than 13,000 migrants remained stranded at the Greek-Macedonian border yesterday.