Wednesday

25th Apr 2018

EU finalises €3bn fund for Turkey refugees

  • EU payments won't amount to direct budgetary support for Turkey (Photo: Moyan Brenn)

After much bickering among member states and the European Commission, the 28-country bloc agreed Wednesday (3 February) on the financing details of the refugee facility for Turkey, designed to improve conditions for refugees and migrants.

The facility, agreed last November in exchange for Ankara's help in stemming the influx of people into Europe, is aimed at delivering humanitarian assitance to refugee camps in Turkey.

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  • The breakdown of contributions from EU member states to the Turkey fund (Photo: European Commission)

Details on the financing have been holding up the project.

The biggest contributor is Germany, on €427.5 million. The UK gives €327.6 million. France contributes €309.2 million.

Cyprus (split in two after Turkey invaded north Cyprus in 1974) will not contribute. But it will pay € 2.3 million into EU aid for Jordan and Lebanon refugee facilities.

Italy was the last country to agree on the Turkey fund.

It did so after the commission made clear the contributions will not be taken into account for the calculation of a member state's deficit under EU fiscal rules.

The Italian contribution is €224.9 million.

"Turkey now hosts one of the world's largest refugee communities and has committed to significantly reducing the numbers of migrants crossing into the EU," Johannes Hahn, EU neighbourhod commissioner said.

Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans said: "The money we are putting on the table will directly benefit Syrian refugees in Turkey, helping to improve their access to education and healthcare in particular.”

Brussels and EU countries hope that better conditions in Turkish camps will mean fewer people risk the perilous sea crossing from Turkey to Greek islands.

Germany has the biggest stake because most people want to claim asylum there.

The commission originally proposed to contribute €500 million to the Turkey facility.

But member states, in December, talked it up to €1 billion.

The other €2 billion will be paid by member states according to the size of their economies, as with their normal EU budget contributions.

Wednesday's agreement makes it possible for the commission to start providing assistance from early 2016.

The money is being earmarked specificically for refugee camps and doesn’t amount to direct budgetary support for Turkey.

Commission boosts Turkey fund stake to €1bn

EU member states are continuing to discuss how best to finance a Turkey fund worth the €3bn. Under pressure from EU countries, the commission proposed a contribution of €1bn from the EU budget.

Germany, Turkey want Nato help to police coast

Germany and Turkey want to stop people-smugglers in the Aegean Sea, as tens of thousands of new Syria refugees mass on Turkey's borders amid Assad's siege of Aleppo.

Turkish PM in Brussels for migration talks next week

A mini-summit is under preparation as the EU Commission will unveil on Wednesday a progress report on migration policies. Questions persist over a €3 billion deal with Turkey and the future of Greece in the Schengen area.

France tightens immigration law, sparking division

French lawmakers are cracking down on asylum seekers in a bid to send those rejected back home. Controversial measures they passed over the weekend will now be debated in the French senate in June.

Opinion

Calling time on European-Turkish strategic relations

With an Erdogan-Putin summit on Tuesday, joined by Iran on Wednesday, it is time for Europe to face facts - Turkey's ties with the West are no longer strategic. When Europe goes hither, Turkey deliberately goes thither.

EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints

EU policy and law makers are ironing out final details of a legislative reform on collecting the fingerprints of asylum seekers and refugees, known as Eurodac. The latest plan includes possibly using coercion against minors, which one MEP calls "violence".

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