Avramopoulos: EU-Turkey deal cut migrant arrivals 97 percent

Avramopoulos: EU-Turkey deal cut migrant arrivals 97 percent

The European Union says the bloc’s migrant agreement with Turkey is working well but that more effort is needed to speed asylum applications.

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said Wednesday that “the EU-Turkey statement continues to work and deliver results.”

He said migrant arrivals in Greece from Turkey had dropped 97 percent since the deal in March last year, and that more than 8,800 Syrians in Turkey had now found homes in Europe.

But the Commission says “significant additional efforts” are needed to cut the asylum application backlog and improve processing in Greece so more people can be returned to Turkey.

Turkey has agreed to stem migrant departures for Greece in return for fast-track EU membership talks, visa-free travel for Turkish systems and at least 3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) in aid for Syrian refugees there. [AP]

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