EU green-lights 1.4 billion euros in aid for refugees in Turkey

BRUSSELS (dpa)- The European Commission on Friday approved 1.41 billion euros (1.58 billion dollars) in funding for refugees living in Turkey, as part of an aid pledge to Ankara that has withstood rising tensions between the two sides.
​The money will go towards health, protection, socioeconomic support and municipal infrastructure projects benefiting refugees, the commission announced.

It is part of an overall 6-billion-euro pledge to help Turkey host an influx of refugees from war-torn Syria, under a deal struck in 2015 at the height of a migration crisis in the European Union. In return, Ankara agreed to prevent people from attempting to reach the bloc.
"With this new allocation of funds, the EU continues to deliver on its commitment to support Turkey in hosting the largest group of refugees in the world," EU Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in a statement.
The EU has now allocated 5.6 billion euros out of the total pledge, the commission said. Overall, 2.35 billion euros have so far been disbursed to designated projects. 
Turkey has repeatedly accused the EU of not living up to its aid pledges.
Relations between Brussels and Ankara - an EU membership candidate - have grown strained since a failed Turkish coup attempt in 2016 and an ensuing government crackdown that has seen the country backslide on key EU benchmarks relating to the rule of law, citizens' rights and media freedom.
In addition, the EU took punitive steps against Turkey this week - cutting accession funds and cancelling any high-level meetings, among other things - in response to a spat over oil drilling activities carried out by Ankara off the coast of member state Cyprus.

Saturday, July 20th 2019

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