The European Union has decided to provide 663 million euros in humanitarian aid to continue projects implemented for Turkey’s Syrian refugees, the European Commission said on Thursday, according to the Ahval news website.
Turkey and the EU agreed in 2016 on a deal that aimed to cut the influx of Syrian refugees arriving in Greece. According to the deal, the EU promised the allocation of 6 billion euros in aid to Turkey to be provided in two installments, which would be used for projects to help migrants.
The 663 million euros to be transferred to Turkey in line with this deal will ensure the continuation of the EU’s largest-ever humanitarian program, the Emergency Social Safety Net, the EU Commission said.
The remaining funds will continue supporting projects in the areas of education and essential services such as healthcare, the commission added.
“EU support has made a real impact for refugees hosted in Turkey. Thanks to EU support, around 1.7 million refugees can meet their basic needs, and more than half a million refugee children go to school,” Christos Stylianides, EU commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, said.
The EU’s announcement came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan repeatedly threatened to open Turkey’s borders and send some 3.6 Syrian refugees into EU countries over the bloc’s criticism of Ankara due to Turkey’s military offensive in Syria.
Erdoğan has also accused the EU of failing to fulfill its promises of financial aid to be provided for refugees.
Out of the 6 billion euro fund, more than 2.6 billion euros have already been disbursed, over 4.2 billion euros contracted for and some 5.8 billion euros allocated, with 95 of the projects already rolled out, the EU Commission said.