Saturday

17th Feb 2018

Commission boosts Turkey fund stake to €1bn

  • EU leaders agreed to a €3 billion Refugee Facility for Turkey in November (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Bickering continues among EU member states and the commission over how to finance the €3 billion pledged to Turkey for helping stem the flow of migrants into Europe. The bloc’s executive proposed on Friday (11 December) to contribute €1 billion from the 2017 EU budget.

Initially the commission proposed €500 billion for the common moneybag, and €2.5 billion contribution from EU member states.

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Negotiations throughout the week and continuing on Friday afternoon revealed that member states would like to have the commission dig up more money from the EU budget.

The EU executive proposed €700 million as a contribution earlier this week, but member states wanted to see more.

At Friday’s meeting the commission presented a sum of €1 billion, according to sources familiar with the discussions, adding that a deal is possible on Monday.

Member states still need to hammer out an agreement on the technicalities of the financial instrument, and on how much member states will actually contribute.

The commission proposed a GNI-key (similar to the EU budget contributions), but some member states, including Cyprus, remain reluctant.

Nadia Calvino, director-general for budget at the commission, told MEPs on Thursday that member states should notify the commission by 21 December of their envisaged payment plan.

She tried to assure members of the budget committee that the money will go to host communities in Turkey and refugees.

“This is not direct budgetary support to the Turkish government, but targeted at addressing the consequences of the flow of refugees,” Calvino said.

She added the that issue should be agreed by the EU summit next week, and that the facility would be operational starting next year.

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