The European Union wants to pay Turkey more money for refugee aid. According to information from the Funke media group, the EU Commission plans to increase the funds by 485 million euros. This is intended to further finance two central projects for the support of refugees. The money is to be paid in addition to the six billion euros that the EU had already promised in two tranches in the refugee agreement with Turkey. In return, Turkey closed the refugee route to Greece.
So far, according to EU data, around half of the funds committed have been paid out at 3.2 billion euros. The rest is planned and will be fully contracted in the course of the year. The Turkish government has therefore been demanding more money for many months and has threatened not to keep the agreement.
Now the EU wants to mobilize the additional funds directly and at short notice via the current EU 2020 budget. However, the EU Parliament and the Council of Member States still have to approve an associated change in the 2020 budget.
Coronavirus has hit Turkey
The Commission warns in a template available to the newspapers of the Funke media group: "Due to the Covid 19 outbreak, the economic situation in Turkey is deteriorating and unprotected refugees are among the worst affected by the crisis." It is therefore urgent to provide the necessary funds to finance the continuation of the two main humanitarian measures.
The so-called Security Network for Emergency Situations (ESSN) is to continue to finance 400 million euros, from which around 1.7 million refugees in Turkey will receive monthly money transfers for the most essential goods. This program would expire in March 2021 at the latest without an increase, and a new commitment will be needed this summer, the template says. A further 85 million euros is to be used to secure a program that supports families of schoolchildren and whose funds will only last until September or October.
In addition to providing aid to Turkey, the EU Commission also plans to increase support for Jordan and Lebanon in accepting refugees - the two countries, which also accept refugees from Syria, are to receive another 100 million euros this year, in addition to those for 2020 promised and meanwhile planned 214 million euros.