Today, the Steering Committee of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey met in Brussels to agree the practicalities of how support through the Facility will be accelerated in the months to come, with €1 billion in commitments foreseen by the end of July. The Committee also welcomed progress on implementation so far, with close to €200 million worth of assistance to refugees decided and contracted to date.
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said: "The Facility for Refugees in Turkey is up and running. The priority areas for Facility intervention have been agreed, close to €200 million of projects have been rolled out, and we have a growing number of further projects in the pipeline. I am looking forward to reaching €1 billion in commitments by the end of July. The European Union and Turkey are living up to their commitment to cooperate closely to improve the conditions for refugees in Turkey”.
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, added: "Operations assisting the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey have been intensified. In parallel an Emergency Social Safety Net will be implemented. This will be the largest ever humanitarian programme using multi-purpose cash. A delivery system that is cost efficient is a major innovation in the delivery of humanitarian aid. Coupled with protective and humanitarian services, this changes the way we do business. Helping refugees and local communities in partnership with the Government of Turkey is the win-win that we have been looking for”.
The Steering Committee – meeting at senior officials' level – gathered representatives from EU Member States and Turkey, under the chairmanship of the European Commission. The Committee took stock of the good progress under the Facility so far, in particular with the €60 million Special Measure agreed by the Commission on 19 April to help returnees with shelter, food and health care.
Furthermore, the Committee agreed on the main priorities the Facility will focus on in the immediate and medium term: Humanitarian Assistance, Migration Management, Education, Health, Municipal Infrastructure, and Socio-Economic Support. Discussions also focused on the findings of a needs assessment prepared by experts contracted by the Commission, which will provide valuable guidance for further Facility intervention.
The Commission is frontloading the EU budget contribution to the Facility and using all means available, such as Special Measures, to fast track the disbursement of funds to support refugees in Turkey.
Emergency Social Safety Net to be implemented
Beyond the Facility, the EU continues to provide humanitarian assistance in Turkey, with operations scaled up in the past months to reach more beneficiaries in a wider geographical area. Basic assistance will reach the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey throughout the year, while protection services will focus on particularly vulnerable groups (e.g. war affected, children), and gaps in informal education and health will be bridged.
In tandem, an Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) will be implemented to improve direct financial assistance to as many as 1 million vulnerable refugees, coupled with protective and humanitarian services. The ESSN will be a joint effort of experienced humanitarian partners and Turkish authorities and will establish a single delivery system of assistance, through electronic cards, to allow refugees to cover their basic needs with dignity. At the local level, this will give the refugees the freedom to buy what they need most; it will also provide extra support for struggling families. At the same time, the new system will boost the local economy, as the money will be spent in local markets. The ESSN and associated measures will be rolled out in the second half of 2016.
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 come from the EU budget (€1 billion) and from EU Member States (€2 billion) over 2016 and 2017, making a total so far of €3 billion over two years. 22 Member States have already indicated their contributions to the Facility with a total of €1.61 billion pledged out of the €2 billion committed for this year and next. The process is ongoing and more Member States are currently finalising their contributions. Six Member States are still in the process of finalising their contributions: Austria, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Romania, Spain.
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.
Out of the €250 million foreseen from the EU budget for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey in 2016, the first contracts worth €77 million were signed on 7 March and first payments were made on 18 March. On 19 April a new set of projects under the Facility was announced, comprising €60 million to cover expenses for food, health care and accommodation of migrants who have been returned from Greece to Turkey and €50 million in humanitarian aid to address the immediate needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey. The Commission's total support so far through the Facility amounts to €190 million.
Programming and project preparation under the Facility have been accelerated. By end of July 2016, the EU expects to contract €1 billion in EU funding for healthcare, education and food. The approach to fast-tracking the implementation of the Facility will focus on humanitarian assistance, infrastructure and socio-economic support.
For more information:
EU announces first projects under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €95 million to be provided for immediate educational and humanitarian assistance
Facility for Refugees in Turkey: Commission delivers an additional €110 million under the implementation of EU-Turkey agreement
Implementing the EU-Turkey Agreement – Questions and Answers
FACTSHEET: The Facility for Refugees in Turkey