Earlier, the EU brokered a much-debated agreement with Turkey, through which the main flow of Mid-Eastern refugees to Europe had passed. Together with Mediterranean EU members' consolidated efforts to re-introduce border controls, The Turkish decision to close the country's borders for refugees heading to Europe has arguably led to marked decrease in asylum seekers' numbers. Additionally, Ankara pledged to take back all undocumented migrants that had arrived to the EU in exchange for Syrian refugees on a one-for-one basis. In return, the EU promised to provide a total of 3 billion euros ($3.2bln) to Turkey for dealing with refugees, with a possible further 3 billion-euro provision. Other promised bonuses were accelerating Turkey's EU accession process and introducing a visa freedom between Turkey and Europe. Turkey currently hosts over three million Syrian refugees.
During the past two years, Finland took in a record 38,000 refugees. According to the recent data from the country's Migration Board (Migri), nearly half of all asylum seekers were refused after processing nearly 23,500 applications.
Starting from September 2015, the Finnish Migration Board has been gradually tightening asylum rules, controversially insisting on the fact that some areas of Iraq were safe for living. At present, Finland is working on a bilateral agreement with the Iraqi government on forcible return of asylum seekers, denied refugee status by the Finnish immigration authorities.
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