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EU, Turkey Implementing Bilateral Refugee Deal Slower Than Expected - Merkel

© AFP 2021 / Fabio BucciarelliSyrian refugees stand inside the Moria camp during the demostration against the deal between EU and Turkey, on March 24, 2016 in Lesbos.
Syrian refugees stand inside the Moria camp during the demostration against the deal between EU and Turkey, on March 24, 2016 in Lesbos. - Sputnik International
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The pace of the implementation of a refugee agreement between the European Union and Turkey is slower than desired, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday.

BERLIN (Sputnik) — Since 2015, hundreds of thousands of migrants have been trying to reach the European Union to escape violence and poverty of their home countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Friends Ibrahim, Hamayoun and Nomi, from left, refugees from Afghanistan, travel in a special train to Dortmund, photographed at the central train station in Munich, Germany, Friday Sept. 11, 2015. - Sputnik International
Over 3,000 Undocumented Afghans Voluntarily Left Germany in 2016 - German Gov't

In March, the European Union and Turkey made an agreement, which stipulated Ankara taking back all undocumented migrants who arrive in the EU countries via Turkey. In exchange, Syrian refugees stationed in Turkey would be relocated to the European Union on a one-for-one basis. Since then the pace of the deal's implementation has been repeatedly criticized by the officials in both Turkey and the 28-nation bloc.

"We are carrying out close work within the framework of the EU-Turkey agreement [on refugees], the process is not implemented as fast as we would like," Merkel said during a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

She added that the two parties to the agreement were in constant contact on the issue and expressed hope that they would "gradually move forward" in the process of the implementation.

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