Greece struggles as EU-Turkey refugee deal comes into force

Greece has begun moving migrants from its islands to the mainland but will not be able to return refugees to Turkey from Sunday. From now on, migrants who reach Greece should automatically be deported back to Turkey.

The EU’s controversial refugee deal with Turkey came into effect at midnight on Sunday but Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the country would need more time to begin returning migrants to Turkey.

Under the plan reached in Brussels on Friday, migrants who reach the Greek islands from now on will be screened and have their identities recorded before being sent back to Turkey, where more than 2 million Syrians have escaped the civil war.

But Tsipras say the deal would need more than 36 hours to fully implement.

It remained unclear how migrants would be returned. Greek officials had previously suggested that the European border protection agency Frontex could escort chartered private vessels to Turkish ports.

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(Archive photo: IOM/Amanda Nero)