EU countries must spend more on EU-Turkey migrant deal: Commissioner
BERLINEuropean Commissioner for Budget Günther Oettinger has said that the EU countries must contribute more money from national budgets to meet commitments under the EU-Turkey migrant agreement.
Oettinger called on member states to stick to their commitments and allocate more than 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) from their national budgets by the end of 2018.
In an interview, Oettinger said the EU Commission had already planned to allocate around 300 million euros ($356 million) of its own resources for the second 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion) tranche pledged to Turkey.
“The member states will have to finance at least two billion,” he told German magazine Der Spiegel on Aug. 25, as he urged European governments to transfer remaining funds from their national budgets.
EU member states and Turkey reached an agreement in March 2016 to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The EU promised to initially allocate 3 billion euros as a first tranche of a 6 billion euros total, for various projects to support Syrian refugees.
According to the agreement, the EU pledged to provide Turkey with an additional 3 billion euros in funding until the end of 2018.
Although the plan has successfully reduced refugee flows, the Turkish authorities have been critical of the EU for delays in promised funding for the projects to support refugees.
As of June 2017, the EU signed contracts for 48 projects in total worth over 1.6 billion euros. So far, 811 million euros of the pledged 3 billion euros was disbursed.
Turkey hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world. The country has spent more than 20 billion euros from its own national resources for helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian war.