EU spending on refugees falls short of agreed 3 billion euros

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 28.06.2017 17:39
Updated 29.06.2017 17:23
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AA Photo

An EU conference on refugees has announced new projects in the field of education, however the overall EU funds given for refugees in Turkey is still far behind the promised amount.

The EU Commission's management committee on financial support for refugees had its seventh conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

A total of 50 million euros will go to new language education and occupational training programs for refugees, the conference said.

However, the EU has only delivered 811 million euros of the 3 billion euros that were agreed at the Turkey-EU Summit in 2015.

The 2015 agreement stated that the EU would provide 3 billion euros for Syrian refugees in Turkey by the end of 2017.

At another summit in March, the EU agreed to create an extra fund of 3 billion euros that would last until the end of 2018.

Today's conference stated that a further 714 million euros had been delivered to Turkey, raising the total funds allocated to 2.9 billion euros.

Up until now the EU has signed agreements on 48 projects for refugees in Turkey, at a total value of 1.6 million euros, while only 811 million euros of this has been paid.

The purpose of these EU funds is to support Syrian refugees in Turkey with projects in the areas of health, education, infrastructure and food.

EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn recently said recently he will travel to Turkey on July 6 to discuss the projects developed for Syrian refugees.

EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides said that throughout these projects so far they have already reached over 680,000 refugees and the additional funding committed in May will enable them to reach 1.3 million refugees by the end of the year.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu stated in February that Turkey has spent around $25 billion to support refugees living in the country.

This amount combines government expenditures, Turkish civil society organizations' expenditures and also the Turkish public's expenditure, according to data from the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD).

According to Interior Ministry statistics, approximately 2,969,000 documented Syrians are in Turkey, with 1,376,000 of them women and 1,351,000 children. When undocumented migrants are added to this number, it is estimated that the number exceeds 3 million.

In last year's EU-Turkey refugee deal, the EU promised to a "3+3" deal totaling 6 billion euros in humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees, visa liberalization for Turkish citizens and accelerating the EU-Turkish negotiation process, opening five new chapters in return for Turkey's efforts to prevent illegal immigration to Europe. Turkish Coast Guard Command reports revealed that irregular migration from Turkey to Greece through the Aegean Sea dropped 96 percent in the first five months of 2017 compared to same period of 2016, but the EU has failed to fulfill all of these promises.

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