On 15 October 2015, the EU reached an interim agreement with Turkey on a joint action plan to manage migration and address the refugee crisis. At the Council meeting on that date, the Heads of State and Government of Member States adopted the agreement and expressed their satisfaction with the joint action plan.
In November 2014, the Commission even pledged EUR 3 billion in a fund for Turkey: approximately five hundred million euros have already been disbursed to that country to help strengthen border security and continue hosting some 2.2 million refugees from Syria.
Serious allegations have been made concerning the take-up of these funds by Turkey: a large share of these funds is disappearing in Turkish bureaucracy and even the life jackets being purchased for refugees allegedly do not meet international requirements (e.g. SOLAS) and are not certified.
In view of the above, can the Commission Vice-President and Commissioner responsible say:
1. What procedure is being used to ensure that the Turkish authorities are making proper and effective use of the funds?
2. It is rumoured that Turkey will receive further funding. On what basis will this occur, given that there has been no progress so far in implementing the contents of the agreement?
Answer given by Mr Hahn on behalf of the Commission
The Commission and the Member States committed to provide EUR 3 billion in 2016 and 2017 through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey(1). This assistance provides humanitarian and non-humanitarian aid to refugees and host communities in Turkey. The Steering Committee of the Facility composed of representatives of the Member States and the Commission will ensure that the assistance will benefit these target groups. The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the resources coordinated through the Facility, using the existing external assistance financing instruments fitting best the type of assistance to be delivered.
On 12 May 2016, the Steering Committee for the Facility agreed that the Facility should focus on: (1) humanitarian assistance, (2) migration management, (3) education, (4) health, (5) municipal infrastructure and (6) socioeconomic support. On 30 June 2016, the Steering Committee acknowledged an independent needs assessment and discussed projects worth EUR 1.4 billion to support education, health, municipal and social infrastructure, as well as socioeconomic development of refugees and host communities in Turkey.
The Third Report on progress by Turkey in fulfilling the requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap was published on 4 May 2016(2), and the Second Report on the progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement was published on 15 June 2016(3). The sharp decrease in the number of irregular migrants and asylum-seekers crossing from Turkey into Greece is proof of the Statement's effectiveness and that the business model of smugglers can be broken.
The Commission will continue to monitor and will report regularly on progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement.
(1) Commission Decision No C(2016)0855 final on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey amending Commission Decision No C(2015)9500 final of 24.11.2015.
(2) COM(2016)0278 final.
(3) COM(2016)0349 final.