Greece looks set to start sending migrants back to Turkey from the beginning of next week after a proposed "one in, one out" scheme apparently won the approval of EU leaders in Brussels.
Under the scheme drawn up by European Council president Donald Tusk and Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, any migrant arriving in Greece after March 20 would be given a swift individual interview to determine whether they will be allowed to remain or sent back to Turkey.
After less than an hour of discussions, the prime ministers of Finland and the Czech Republic tweeted from inside the European Council negotiations to announce that the 28 leaders had given their approval to the arrangement.
Mr Tusk's spokesman said that the agreement made clear that any removals would have to be "in full compliance with international and EU law" and that there would be no "collective expulsions".
He added: "The cut-off date is March 20 - that is on Sunday. All migrants arriving after that cut-off date will be returned after individual assessment."
The spokesman said the new arrangements would come into force at the end of Sunday, so the first migrants facing return would be those crossing the Aegean Sea to the Greek islands on Monday morning.