European Union member states have been locked in an internal crisis over who should pay the second batch of 3 billion euros financial aid for refugees in Turkey that was promised in March 2016.
According to reports in Germany earlier this week, the European Union may fail once again to keep its promise as several member states have reportedly said that they do not want to pay.
As part of the deal between Ankara and Brussels, the latter pledged to provide two tranches of 3 billion euros to Ankara for a variety of projects for refugees.
Recently, the EU bound the first 3 billion euro package but it is also time for the second batch to be handed over.
At a meeting in Varna, Bulgaria last month, EU leaders promised President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the second part would be handled soon. However, there has been speculation for some time in Brussels that there is a deepening conflict behind the scenes as to who exactly pays what proportion of the bill.
German media contended that EU diplomats confirmed that there is indeed still disagreement between the European Commission and member states over who should make the payment.
Meanwhile, Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Finland have jointly sent a letter to the commission, saying that the remaining 3 billion euros should be paid completely from the EU budget. However, the commission insists that member states should bear the costs. According to internal EU documents obtained by German media, several EU states have repeatedly come out in secret sessions against the planned financing of the Turkish-EU deal. It has been reported that one-third of the first 3 billion euro package was paid by the EU and the rest was to be paid by member states. The unwillingness within the EU to pay the second part of the financial aid package for refugees is yet another example of Brussels' unheeded promises as part of the March 2016 deal.
Over 1 million refugees and migrants reached the EU in 2015, most of them coming via Turkey. Brussels agreed to pay to help take care of refugees and migrants in Turkey in exchange for Ankara preventing more from trying to cross the Aegean Sea to Greece.
The March 2016 deal employs a one-for-one formula under which failed asylum seekers in Europe are returned to Turkey while Syrian refugees are resettled in EU states in a quota system. As another part of the deal, the EU said it would open two chapters in Ankara's EU accession negotiations and grant visa-free travel to Turkish nationals in the Schengen zone. Since then, Ankara has harshly criticized the EU for not keeping its promises and for not granting visa-free travel to the Schengen zone, which soured relations. Some EU countries' stances on critical issues for Turkey's national security have further increased tensions.
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