EU contracted entire amount of humanitarian aid: EU ambassador
Sevil ERKUŞ - ANKARA
The European Union has finished contracting three billion euros that will be used for Syrian refugees in Turkey, the head of the EU delegation in Ankara has announced, informing that all these funds will be distributed under 72 separate projects.
“Yesterday we signed the very last contract with the KfW which means that now the entire amount of three billion euros we offered in 2016 are now contracted, legally bound and being implemented,” Ambassador Christian Berger told reporters on Dec. 27.
In line with EU commitments to Turkey through the March 2016 migrant deal some 72 projects were elected which the EU implements with the government and various ministries, the U.N. family, and with international and local NGOs, Berger said.
Turkey and the EU signed a comprehensive deal in March 2016 that aims to curb the flow of refugees from the Turkish territories into Greek islands. EU promised to give six billion euros in two equal parts and in return Turkey accepted to stop migrant flows into Europe.
Turkey criticized the EU for not being fast enough in delivering its financial commitments to Turkey.
The largest part of the first three billion euros will be spent to serve the basic needs of refugees, Berger said, informing the sum of this humanitarian aid was around 1.4 billion euros.
The money is being used for cash transfers, food, equipment and clothes for winter, health, and for support to specific vulnerable groups. EU member states will now consider the extension of this fund for the upcoming two years.
The ambassador also briefed about the number of illegal movements of refugees. “By the end of this year, 1,500 people have been returned from Greek islands to Turkey,” he said, noting that more than 11,700 people have been resettled in the EU from Turkey.
He stressed that this achievement was possible thanks to close cooperation with the government of Turkey and the Turkish people.
Berger did not want to speak about the domestic politics of Turkey and declined to comment on the latest state of emergency decree laws.
“The EU’s progress report is planned to be released in March or April,” he said, noting that a summit between the Turkish leadership and the EU is possible at the end of the spring of 2018, after the EU’s own summit in Brussels.
When asked about German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s proposal for a Brexit-like model for Turkey, the ambassador stressed that Ankara is still an EU membership candidate and the accession process is still ongoing.