The first Steering Committee meeting of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey was held in Brussels on 17 February, chaired by the Commission. The first projects to provide humanitarian aid and support access to education of refugee children in Turkey will shortly be presented to the appropriate committees.
The Steering Committee meeting was chaired by the European Commission with the participation of all EU Member States plus Turkey in an advisory capacity. The Committee gave the Commission the mandate to immediately implement the 2016 contribution from the EU budget to provide more urgently needed humanitarian aid and access to education for refugee children in Turkey. The first projects to provide humanitarian aid under the new Facility for refugees in Turkey are already in the process of being launched to ensure instant access to life-saving assistance reaches people most in need as quickly as possible.
The resources of the Facility will come from the EU budget and from EU Member States over 2016 and 2017, reaching a total of up to €3 billion over two years. This funding will finance the provision of humanitarian, development and other assistance to refugees and host communities, national and local authorities in managing and addressing the consequences of the inflows of refugees. The progressive delivery of this assistance is conditional on the implementation by Turkey of its commitments under the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan. To ensure coordination, complementarity and efficiency in the financing, the Steering Committee of the Facility provides strategic guidance and decides on which types of actions will be supported and through which financing instruments.
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.
Its geographical position makes Turkey a major first reception and transit country for migrants. The country is hosting more than 2.5 million asylum seekers and 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.
On 15 October, the European Commission reached an ad referenda agreement with Turkey on a Joint Action Plan to step up their cooperation on migration management in a coordinated effort to tackle the refugee crisis. At the European Council of 15 October, Heads of State or Government of the EU's 28 Member States welcomed the joint Action Plan and expressed readiness to increase cooperation with Turkey and step up their political and financial engagement substantially within the established framework. The Action Plan was activated at the EU-Turkey Summit on 29 November 2016.
The Action Plan identifies a series of collaborative actions to be implemented as a matter of urgency by the European Union and the Turkey with the aim of confronting common challenges in a concerted manner and supplementing Turkey’s efforts in managing the large number of people in need of protection in Turkey. In addition, the European Union – the institutions and its Member States – also committed to increasing political engagement with Turkey, providing Turkey with significant financial support, accelerating the fulfilment of the visa liberalisation roadmap and re-energising the accession process with Turkey.
The assistance provided under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey will be conditional on the compliance by Turkey with the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan, which aims to bring order into migratory flows and help to stem irregular migration, and the EU-Turkey Statement from 29 November 2015.
For More Information
Annex 1: EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan Implementation Report
Communication of 23 September 2015: Managing the refugee crisis: immediate operational, budgetary and legal measures under the European Agenda on Migration
Communication of 14 October 2015: Managing the refugee crisis: State of Play of the Implementation of the Priority Actions under the European Agenda on Migration
Communication of 15 December: A European Border and Coast Guard and effective management of Europe's external borders