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EU-Turkey deal 'sends clear message to migrants'

Published 18/03/2016

Donald Tusk is set to put Europe's terms for an agreement to Turkey
Donald Tusk is set to put Europe's terms for an agreement to Turkey

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says a deal between the EU and Turkey to stem the flow of people to Greece will hit smugglers hard and send a "clear message" to dissuade would-be migrants to Europe.

The deal calls for Turkey to take back people who make the crossing illegally starting on Sunday.

Ms Merkel said that means that "anyone who sets out on this dangerous route not only risks his life but also has no prospect of success".

She said European leaders "hope that, with this, irregular migration will end in a short time".

Ms Merkel said of the deal: "The upshot of today is that Europe will manage to survive this difficult test, with all 28 (EU) members and together with Turkey."

ActionAid's head of humanitarian response Mike Noyes said: "This afternoon’s EU-Turkey deal is unjust, inhumane and could be illegal. It will effectively turn the Greek islands, where thousands of refugees arrive every day, into prison camps where terrified people are held against their will before being deported back to Turkey.

"We are seeing rising numbers of refugee mothers and children arriving on Lesvos as they come to join husbands and fathers already in Europe. This new deal will only deepen the suffering and fear of already traumatised people.

"While the only real solution is a political solution to the conflict in Syria – European states must act together in a concerted and humane approach respecting the rights and dignity of refugees. As part of this, the UK government must step up its response by ensuring it takes in a greater number of refugees both from Syria and those who have already arrived in Europe."

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