The European Union executive is drafting a plan to fly limited numbers of refugees from Turkey direct to Europe, EU officials said on Tuesday, following a weekend deal under which Ankara promised to help cut chaotic mass inflows.
So far, 886,662 people seeking safety have reached European shores this year, about four times the total in 2014, and mostly through Turkey, according to United Nations data.
That has set EU governments against each other and strained their system of passport-free travel across most national borders.
To stem the influx, EU leaders reached an agreement with Turkey on Sunday offering cash, easier visas for Turkish travellers to Europe and renewed talks to join the EU, in exchange for Turkey’s engagement to better patrol its borders and improve conditions for the refugees it hosts.
The deal also pledged some “burden-sharing” to help Turkey cope with the more than 2.2 million Syrians on its territory. Beyond cash, this is likely to take the form of a plan to resettle some Syrians directly to the EU, officials said.