The EU Commission plans to pay for two-thirds of the second installment in its €6 billion fund for refugees in Turkey. The remaining €1 billion will have to come from individual member states.
The EU Commission wants to contribute up to €2 billion of the remaining €3 billion left in the €6 billion deal with Turkey, Günther Ottinger, EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, announced on Wednesday. That means that €1 billion has to be made available by national governments. This year, the EU will allocate €500 million and the remaining sum will follow by the end of 2019.
The multi-billion euro deal is part of the EU-Turkey deal aimed at curbing migration to Europe. Agreed upon in 2016, Turkey would stop the flow of refugees to Europe by taking back all migrants who entered Greece via Turkey illegally. In return, Turkey would get a €6 billion fund for refugees, visa-free travel and a fast-tracked EU membership.
Since then, Brussels has allocated €3 billion, two-thirds financed by EU member states. Countries like Germany and France had recently demanded that the remaining €3 billion be financed entirely by the EU Commission. Italy, on the other hand, opposed EU union financing fearing that there will be no funds left to combat illegal migration on the central Mediterranean Route, as AFP reports.Dispute over financing
When the deal came into effect, migrants arrivals to Greece dropped drastically. In recent months, however, river crossings across the Evros between Turkey and Greece have surged. Over 1,650 migrants and refugees crossed the river Evros from Turkey in March 2018, compared to 262 people in the same period last year according to the Italian ANSA news agency.