The 2016 deal was criticised but showed "tangible results" in reducing loss of life, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says, adding EU must help Turkey "to support the burden" of hosting close to 4 million refugees and asylum-seekers.

The 2016 deal was reached to stop irregular refugee flows to EU and to improve the conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The 2016 deal was reached to stop irregular refugee flows to EU and to improve the conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey. (Reuters)

The European Union will seek the renewal of the 2016 refugee migration deal with Turkey, the EU foreign policy chief has said, hailing it for producing "tangible results."

Josep Borrell said the EU member states and institutions first among themselves and then later with Turkey had to discuss the renewal of engagement that the bloc and Turkey concluded.

He was speaking at a press conference on Monday following a joint meeting of EU foreign affairs and interior ministers.

The deal "has been very much criticised" but "has produced tangible results," he said.

"It has led to a significant decrease of loss of human lives, a reduction in irregular crossings and improved the situation of refugees and migrants in Turkey," Borrell pointed out.

$7.2B in assistance for refugees

He said under the deal, the EU had pledged $7.2 billion in assistance for the refugees, and nearly all of the sum had already been contracted.

The EU foreign policy chief also stressed that the refugees were still in Turkey and "they continue to need our support."

The bloc's future relationship with Turkey will be partially based on the renewed agreement, he noted, adding "it is our common interest" to "prevent irregular migration, avoid losses of lives" and to "help Turkey to support the burden" in hosting "such a big amount of people on its territory."

2016 refugee deal

The 2016 deal was reached to stop irregular refugee flows and to improve the conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Turkey is the largest host country for Syrian refugees and provides protection to four million people who fled the neighbouring country.

EU leaders will discuss the future of EU-Turkey relations during their summit next week.

Source: AA