FOLLOWING the crisis summit being held in Brussels, the EU and Turkey have agreed in principle plans to alleviate the migration crisis.
Donald Tusk, European council president said that all irregular migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey would be returned.
Turkey wants the EU to accept a recognised Syrian refugee for each Syrian returned and offer more funding and progress on EU integration.
Further talks on the plan will continue before an EU meeting on March 17-18.
Presently the EU is facing its biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. Most migrants come en route via Turkey, which currently has more than 2.7 million refugees sheltering there having fled from the civil war in neighbouring Syria.
Turkey put forward new proposals ahead of the EU summit on Monday March 7, and there was doubt on whether any agreement would go ahead.
However, Donald Tusk said leaders had made a “breakthrough”, and he was hopeful of finalising the plan next week.
He said the talks sent “a very clear message that the days of irregular migration to Europe are over”.
Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey had made a “bold decision to accept all irregular illegal migrants based on the assumption that for every one Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands another Syrian will be resettled by Europe.”
The prime minister went on to say it was important to see the refugee deal as a package and to include progress on Turkish integration within the EU.
Angela Merkel the German Chancellor said the proposals could be a major step forward if realised, stressing that “irregular migration” needed to be turned into “regular migration”.
Prime Minister, David Cameron said EU leaders had “the basis for a breakthrough”, meaning all migrants arriving in Greece could be returned to Turkey.
Before the summit took place, Cameron stressed the UK would not take part in any resettlement scheme, saying: “We have an absolutely rock-solid opt-out from these things.”
More than a million people entered the EU illegally by boat last year, the main being from Turkey to Greece, more often than not with tragic consequences as desperate migrants attempt increasingly hazardous crossings.