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In March 2018, it will be two years since the EU-Turkey deal came into effect. The highly urgent documentary ‘The Deal’ shows the consequences of this migrant deal. Directors Els van Driel and Eefje Blankevoort reflect on the situation in Greece whilst many journalists and NGO’s have left.
Under the deal, Syrian refugees who had reached Greece were to be returned to Turkey, while Syrian asylum seekers in Turkey were to be resettled in the EU. The deal established a ‘one in, one out’ protocol, with the EU accepting one asylum seeker for every irregular migrant returned to Turkey from Greece. Some regard the deal as a necessary evil; others as a diabolical pact. Meanwhile, the slow pace of procedures and relocation has left thousands of refugees stranded in horrendous conditions on the island of Lesbos. Local residents, volunteers from across Europe and refugees themselves are trying to alleviate the situation. Showing the complexity of the situation, the documentary film portraits three involved perspectives. On Lesbos we meet Ramy, a refugee and animator from Syria, who got stuck on the island wanting to travel to Germany - where his father is expected to soon die from a heart disease. We follow Katerina, the restaurant owner who welcomes the many islands’ refugees with her cooking and open heart. And we get to know Gerald Knaus, the founder of a Berlin-based think tank and architect of the deal, who travels across Europe arguing tirelessly for an asylum policy that is both humane and effective. The EU-Turkey deal now serves as an example for new agreements with countries in North Africa. But does it even work? For whom? And what have we learned from it? The documentary The Deal explores the answers to these questions as well as possible improvements for Europe’s current asylum policy.