Today the European Commission is delivering on its commitment to accelerate the implementation of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey by announcing a new set of projects under the Facility. A further €60 million in a special measure will cover expenses for food, health care and accommodation of migrants who have been returned from Greece to Turkey. A further €50 million in humanitarian aid will address the immediate needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey. This brings the Commission's total support so far through the Facility to €187 million.
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said: "With the special measure adopted today, the Facility for Refugees in Turkey is quickly delivering additional means to ensure that migrants who are returned from Greece to Turkey receive all necessary support. This support will go hand in hand with the Commission's efforts to monitor the legal safeguards that Turkey needs to apply to all returned migrants".
Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, said: "Make no mistake, the EU is already delivering aid to refugees on the ground in Turkey and has been doing so since the beginning of the crisis. The new Facility for Refugees in Turkey allows us to significantly increase our support to help people live in dignity. Today's additional €50 million in humanitarian aid demonstrates the EU's commitment to quickly mobilise humanitarian partners and help the people who need our assistance most."
Funding under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey supports refugees in the country - it is funding for refugees and not funding for Turkey. The support seeks to improve conditions for refugees in Turkey as part of the EU's comprehensive approach to addressing the refugee crisis inside and outside the EU.
The €50 million in humanitarian aid funding will support 15 different projects to help people in need across Turkey, and go to partners including the Danish Refugee Council, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), International Medical Corps UK and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFCR), who are working in close cooperation with Turkish partner organisations. Activities will cover lifesaving humanitarian aid sectors, including food assistance and essential supplies through the use of voucher schemes, access to health services, education in emergencies, protection, information management, essential items for winter, specialised help for persons with disabilities, mental health and psychosocial support.
The €60 million to finance returnees from Greece to Turkey will allow for the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement of 18 March, when EU Heads of State or Government and Turkey agreed to replace dangerous, irregular crossings over the Aegean with safe and legal channels of resettlement from Turkey. The funds will be used to cover the costs of food, shelter and health care for returnees from Turkey and will cover a six month period. The special measure, coordinated through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, will be financed under the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPAII) and implemented by means of a direct agreement with the Turkish Ministry of the Interior. It will cover costs incurred as of 4 April, when first returns took place. The special measure will not cover the cost of returns from Turkey to countries of origin.
The Facility for Refugees in Turkey is the answer to the European Council's call for significant additional funding to support refugees in Turkey. The Facility provides a joint coordination mechanism for actions financed by the EU budget and national contributions made by the Member States, designed to ensure that the needs of refugees and host communities are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. The resources of the Facility will come from the EU budget and from EU Member States over 2016 and 2017, making a total so far of €3 billion over two years.
The Facility for Refugees in Turkey is now up and running, with first contracts signed on 4 March and first payments executed mid-March:
€40 million in humanitarian aid has already been provided to the World Food Programme in food aid to support 735,000 refugees for the next six months, as announced on 4 March. This brings the total amount of the Commission's humanitarian aid to €90 million under the Facility, with the additional funding announced today.
€37million implemented through UNICEF to support an additional 110.000 refugee children getting into school. This comes on top of the 200.000 children the EU already supports through existing programmes.
The European Commission is currently working on all options for rapidly scaling up further the flow of funding under the Facility, focusing on further humanitarian aid and access to education, as well as the development of new actions in the areas of health and infrastructure.
Situation in Turkey
Turkey's geographical position makes it a major first reception and transit country for refugees and migrants. The country is hosting more than 3.1 million registered refugees. Turkey is making commendable efforts to provide massive humanitarian aid and support to an unprecedented and continuously increasing influx of people seeking refuge and has already spent more than €7 billion of its own resources on addressing this crisis.
The European Commission is supporting vulnerable refugees in Turkey who have fled violence in both Syria and Iraq, in particular refugees living outside of camps.
For More Information
Press release - EU-Turkey Cooperation: A €3 billion Refugee Facility for Turkey
Questions and Answers: Implementing the EU-Turkey statement – 4 April