Today, at the seventh Steering Committee meeting of the EU Facility for Refugees the European Commission reported on the progress achieved on the disbursement of the allocated support, which continues at an accelerated pace. Of the overall €3 billion budget for 2016-2017, €2.9 billion has been allocated to date. Contracts have been signed for 48 projects worth over €1.6 billion, out of which €811 million has already been disbursed.
Most recent developments include the signature of a €50 million contract for socio-economic support which aims to improve the employability of Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey through language and other skills training. In addition, the Commission published the Humanitarian Implementation Plan for Turkey for 2017 on 3 May. This sets out the priorities for another €714 million of funding for refugees which should be contracted by the end of 2017.
Under the humanitarian assistance strand, the Emergency Social Safety Net programme continues to further accelerate with more than 680,000 refugees supported through the programme so far. The EU aims to reach 1.3 million refugees by the end of the year. The Conditional Cash Transfer for Education contract was signed with UNICEF in March, and is making steady progress with the aim to enrol 230,000 students by the end of 2017.
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said: "The EU Facility for Refugees continues to make a difference in the daily lives of many refugees. The latest contract signature of €50 million gives Syrian refugees and host communities the opportunity to boost their skills and thus succeed on the labour market, including through Turkish language courses. I remain fully committed to helping Turkey improve the living conditions of the refugees in the country and I look forward to visiting some of our refugee support projects next week when I travel to Turkey."
Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, said: "The EU Facility for Refugees is today making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people and families. We have already reached over 680,000 people through the Emergency Social Safety Net and the additional funding committed in May will enable us to reach 1.3 Million refugees by the end of the year. In addition, the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education programme has already reached the families of 56,000 refugee children. This is the EU's largest humanitarian aid operation ever. We have stayed true to our commitments. Together with our partners and the Turkish government, we continue working hard to provide vulnerable refugees in Turkey with aid, a sense of dignity, and hope."
The EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey was set up in 2015 in response to the European Council's call for significant additional funding to support refugees in Turkey. Its Steering Committee brings together the European Commission, representatives of EU Member States, representatives of Turkey and the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee's rapporteur for Turkey Ms Kati Piri.
Its budget of €3 billion for 2016-2017 is made up of €1 billion from the EU budget, and €2 billion from the EU Member States.
The Facility provides a joint coordination mechanism, designed to ensure that the needs of refugees and host communities are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. 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 Sixth Report on the Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement was published on 13 June 2017.
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