The European Commission announced Wednesday that they are planning to allocate 1.5 billion euros for refugees in Turkey under the refugee deal that was signed in 2016.
In a press release regarding the European Union's 2019 budget, the commission said that they will deliver "an additional 1.5 billion euros for the facility for refugees in Turkey to continue to provide food, education and housing to those fleeing the wars in Syria and elsewhere."
It is also stated that a further 500 million euros will already be provided under the current 2018 budget. One billion euros of the funding, according to the commission, will be provided by the budgets of the member states.
In March 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal aiming to stem the irregular migration flow through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. The deal also pledged acceleration in Turkey's EU membership bid and a visa-free regime for Turkish nationals traveling to the Schengen area, given Ankara met some 72 requirements set by the EU.
This included a 6 billion euro aid package to help Turkey care for the refugees with an initial 3 billion euro tranche. Turkey has long complained about the EU, however, for being slow to release the promised funds for refugees. Turkey is still waiting on the remaining 3 billion euros to be paid and the EU is failing to uphold its end of the deal concerning visa-free travel. However, regarding the funding of the refugee support programs there are disagreements among member states which previously rejected providing the remaining 2 billion euros. Last March, the commission prepared for the allocation of a further 3 billion euros, as agreed in 2016. Of that, 1 billion euros should have come from the EU budget and 2 billion euros should have been contributed by member states. While Germany and France demanded for the overall funding to be provided from the budget, Italy objected, claiming that EU would not have enough resources to fund all the programs.
In order for the commission's suggestions to be accepted, it must be approved by each
member state. Right now, Italy is the only country that did not express its opinion over the EU's 2019 budget.The budget plan is the sixth under the current 2014-2020 long-term EU budget plan and, according to the European Commission, it aims to invest in a stronger European economy while promoting solidarity and security on the EU's borders. ISTANBUL
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