THE HAGU - Senior Dutch government officials are discussing a plan to ferry refugees arriving in Greece back to Turkey to stem the flow of migrants seeking refuge in Europe, Labour Party leader Diederik Samsom said on Thursday.
Samsom said in an interview with the daily Volkskrant that European countries would have to agree in exchange to take several hundred thousand refugees each year out nearly 2 million currently in Turkey.
He also told Reuters that the plan was close to becoming government policy and that the Netherlands, which currently holds the European Union's rotating presidency, would seek to push for Europe-wide agreement on the proposal.
While Samsom has no formal government job as leader of the junior of the two Dutch coalition parties, he said he had discussed the proposal with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and with Sigmar Gabriel, the German Social Democrat vice-chancellor.
The stream of migrants fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East and North Africa has placed the European Union under strain and fueled right-wing nationalist rhetoric throughout the continent.