EU finishes contracting $7.3 bln refugee deal with Turkey

EU finishes contracting $7.3 bln refugee deal with Turkey

ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
EU finishes contracting $7.3 bln refugee deal with Turkey

The EU on Dec. 17 announced the finalizing contracting process of €6 billion ($7.3 billion) in aid for refugees hosted by Turkey, focused on the 4 million Syrian refugees who since 2011 fled the war in their home country for safe shelter in Turkey.

“The EU Delegation to Turkey signs the final eight contracts under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey [FRIT] this week. Under the contracts, the EU provides €780 million in support to refugees in terms of basic needs, health care, protection, municipal infrastructure and vocational and technical education and training, employment and support to private sector, SMEs and entrepreneurship,” said the EU Delegation to Turkey in a statement.

In 2016 the EU and Turkey concluded a deal on refugees in which the EU promised to provide €6 billion in financial assistance to be used by the Turkish government to finance projects for Syrian refugees, and Turkey agreed to help stop irregular migrants from heading to Europe.

In the four years since, Turkey has complained that the EU failed to allocate the full €6 billion as pledged, as well as other promises, but today’s finalization seems to complete the monetary plank of the deal.

For healthcare services, the EU is allocating €300 million to support the Migrant Health Services in Turkey program and Strengthening Health Care Infrastructure for All program.

The Turkish Family, Labour, and Social Services Ministry will also implement two projects “to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable refugees and access of these vulnerable persons, and those from host communities, to protective social services.”

A social assistance project will provide 480,000 refugees with cash payments, and the EU is allocating €245 million for assistance.

Together with French development agency AFD, the EU is allocating €59 million for the improvement of municipal infrastructures focusing on the “construction or the rehabilitation of water, wastewater and solid waste systems.”

The EU is allocating €156 million in total for development projects under the contracts finalized today.

Continued aid for refugees

With an expected budget of €75 million, German state development bank KfW “aims to support the refugee and host community adolescents with its Economic and Social Cohesion through Vocational Education Training II project,” said the statement, plus €75 million to support Syrian and Turkish small- and medium-size enterprises

Some €6.13 million will also go to support the creation of new employment opportunities of Syrians under temporary protection and local host communities, the statement said.

Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, said of the finalization: “I am happy to announce that we put an important milestone behind us and now focus on making sure that the refugees and host communities will benefit from our projects,” said.

Commending Turkey for hosting over 4 million refugees – more than any other country in the world – he added: “The EU will also be prepared to continue providing financial assistance to Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey.”

Meyer-Landrut also held an online press conference to mark the contract completion with Turkish officials including Deputy Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Adnan Ertem, Deputy Health Minister Sabahattin Aydin, and Halik Afsara, chief coordinator of the FRIT Office in Turkey.

“The geographical position of Turkey makes us either a transit or a host country for many refugees and it continues to be so,” Ertem said at the press conference.

“Hosting them under humanitarian conditions is crucial for the continuation of these funds and this assistance,” he added.

Ertem said that education and healthcare services for the refugees are crucial.

He added that the Turkish Red Crescent will be Turkey’s main partner in the project.