EU has allocated full 6 billion euros pledged to Turkey refugees



BRUSSELS (dpa)- The European Union has allocated the full six billion euros (6.65 billion dollars) pledged for refugees in Turkey under a 2016 deal aimed at stemming arrivals to the bloc, its executive announced on Tuesday.
However, less than half of that - 2.7 billion euros - has been disbursed so far, according to a European Commission statement. An overall 4.3 billion euros are already tied up in contracts with the agencies carrying out the support work.




In exchange for the EU funding pledge and other commitments, Ankara agreed in 2016 to prevent migrants and refugees from attempting to reach the European Union, whose member states are deeply divided on how to handle new arrivals.
But in recent months, Ankara has called on the EU to up its funding, while complaining that the promised money had not been delivered and threatening to "open the gates" for refugees to reach the bloc.
Turkey is home to the largest refugee population in the world. It hosts 4 million refugees, including more than 3.6 million from Syria.
The EU funding currently supports 95 projects across Turkey, with 25 more to come on board in the coming months, according to the commission. The money should last through 2025.
"Thanks to [the] EU's support, more than 1.7 million vulnerable refugees cover their basic needs, such as rent and medicine, and more than half a million refugee children go to school," said EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic.
The funding goes to United Nations agencies such as its UNICEF children's fund and the UN Refugee Angency, UNHCR, as well as non-governmental organizations including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent and the World Food Programme.
Ankara has frequently grumbled about the fact that the money is not being allocated via government coffers.
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Wednesday, December 11th 2019
dpa
           


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