From 2016, the agreement reduced the number of refugees entering Europe illegally via the Aegean Sea. Although the figures were much lower than in 2015, when the crisis began, Gerald Knaus, the master behind the refugee pact and president of the European Stability Initiative (ESI), sees the agreement under threat. According to Knaus, nearly 9,000 people arrived in Europe via the Aegean Sea in the first half of 2017, compared with 20,000 in the second half of the year. According to the European Commission, the number of refugees arriving in Greece via Turkey has decreased by 97% compared to the same period in the previous year. On 18 March 2016, the EU concluded a migration agreement with Turkey, which aims to allow refugees to enter the EU. As part of the agreement, Turkey has agreed to take back migrants entering Greece and send legal refugees to the EU. In exchange, the EU agreed to grant Turkey six billion euros and grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel by the end of June 2016 if Turkey meets 72 conditions.  In March 2016, the EU published a report that Turkey was meeting 35 of the 72 free visa requirements across Europe.  By May 2016, this figure had risen to 65 out of 72.  A formal agreement between the EU and Turkey came into force on 20 March 2016 to deal with the migration crisis. The agreement is expected to limit the influx of irregular migrants entering the EU via Turkey. A key aspect of the agreement is the return to Ankara, the Turkish capital, of irregular migrants, who are found to have entered the EU via Turkey without having already been the subject of a formal asylum application procedure. Those who have bypassed the asylum procedure in Turkey would be returned and placed at the end of the application line.
It will not be easy to find a new consensus. Ankara wants to impose progress on its demands, including support for its Idlib operation and significantly more funding for Syrians in Turkey, but EU leaders do not want to appear as President Erdogan`s hostage. Brussels` desire to remain firm in its other disputes with Ankara reduces the prospects for a quick solution to the current migration dispute. Three years later, there is a retrospective of the agreement and its impact on migration. The increasing difficulty of travelling to Europe from the Greek islands has led migrants and refugees to quickly seek alternative routes to reach the EU. With more than 57,000 unauthorised sea arrivals in 2018, Spain has become the number one route to the EU by sea. That`s more than twice as many arrivals as in 2017 with 21,000. The NGOs and the Spanish government itself held the increase responsible for the EU-Turkey agreement and subsequent agreements with Libya, which essentially stopped the Central Mediterranean route, through which boats had departed from Libya to Italy.