EU disburses 467 million euros for Syrian refugees in Turkey
BRUSSELS – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoThe European Union announced on Oct. 17 the dispersal of 467 million of 3 billion euros in aid that has been pledged for over 3 million refugees living in Turkey.
“The total amount of funding allocated under the Facility [for Refugees in Turkey] now stands at over 2.2 billion euros, with over 1.2 billion euros already awarded via concrete contracts,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, in a letter on the progress of the implementation of the funding.
“Of this, 467 million euros has been disbursed to the implementing partners,” he said.
“The balance will be paid progressively as the implementation of the projects advances,” Juncker said, adding that the facility was set up with 2 billion euros in funding from the budgets of the EU member states in addition to 1 billion euros from the EU budget.
The refugee deal, signed between Turkey and the EU on March 18, aims to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of over 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Since March 20, when the Turkey-EU migrant deal entered into force, for every illegal migrant Turkey takes back from the EU, the EU agrees to take one Syrian refugee from Turkey.
Juncker said the funding from the facility, including the funds from the member states, was making a “real, tangible difference” to the lives of the over 3 million refugees hosted by Turkey, providing support for their immediate healthcare, education, food and protection needs.
“On Sept. 26, the Emergency Social Safety Net was launched by Commissioner Christos Stylianides together with the World Food Programme, the Turkish Red Crescent and the Turkish authorities in Ankara. This is not only the biggest EU humanitarian aid program ever; it is also one of the most innovative,” Juncker said in his letter.
“With 348 million euros in funding from the facility, 1 million of the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey will receive a debit card, onto which they will receive a monthly cash transfer. This will help them cover basic needs such as food or shelter, as well as helping them to send their children to school,” Juncker said.
He also noted two other major education and health contracts signed on Sept. 27 that concerned two direct grants worth 600 million euros in total.
“The first contract provides almost half a million Syrian children with access to regular schooling,” he said.
“The second provides around 2 million people with access to primary healthcare services through the creation of over 500 healthcare facilities and rehabilitative mental health services for up to 1 million people,” he said, adding that the commission would continue to roll out further projects under the facility in the coming months.
“The facility is fully operational and helping refugees. The EU is thus delivering one of the key elements of the EU-Turkey Statement of March 2016,” Juncker said.