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EU-Turkey Cooperation: A €3 billion Refugee Facility for Turkey

The European Council on 15 October welcomed the Joint Action Plan with Turkey as part of a comprehensive cooperation agenda based on shared responsibility, mutual commitments and delivery. The European Council also agreed to step up political and financial engagement with Turkey in a number of areas. As foreseen in the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan, the EU has committed to provide immediate and continuous humanitarian assistance in Turkey.

The EU will provide substantial new financial resources to support Turkey in coping with the challenge represented by the presence in Turkey of Syrians under temporary protection. To this end, the European Commission is setting up a legal framework – a Refugee Facility for Turkey – to coordinate and streamline actions financed in order to deliver efficient and complementary support to Syrians under temporary protection and host communities in Turkey. The funds will be provided in the most flexible and rapid way possible, and will help national and local authorities in line with burden-sharing within the framework of Turkey-EU cooperation.

European Commission First-Vice President Frans Timmermans said: “In dealing with the refugee crisis, it is absolutely clear that the European Union needs to step up its cooperation with Turkey and Turkey with the European Union. We both need to work together and to implement the Joint Action Plan which will bring order into migratory flows and help to stem irregular migration. Within this framework, the setting up of a Turkey Refugee Facility translates our intentions into concrete actions. This money is about providing support to further improve daily lives and socio-economic conditions of Syrians seeking refuge in Turkey.

The Turkey Refugee Facility is the answer to the European Council’s call for significant additional funding to support Turkey. It was discussed at the informal meeting of the European Council on 12 November 2015 in Valletta, in the presence of the President of the European Parliament. The Facility, which is set up in full cooperation with the European Parliament, will provide a coordination mechanism, designed to ensure that the needs of refugees and host communities are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. The Refugee Facility for Turkey will coordinate a total amount of €3 billion. The Facility will start to provide grants and other financial support as of 1 January 2016.

To ensure coordination, complementarity and efficiency of the assistance, the Steering Committee of the Facility will provide strategic guidance and decide on which actions will be financed, with which amount and through which financial instruments. The Steering Committee will be composed of representatives of Member States and of Turkey, in an advisory capacity.

Its geographical position makes Turkey a major first reception and transit country for migrants. The country is hosting more than 2 million of asylum seekers and refugees, the highest number in the world.
Turkey is making commendable efforts to provide massive humanitarian aid and support to an unprecedented and continuously increasing influx of people seeking refuge and has already spent more than €7 billion of its own resources on addressing this crisis.

On 15 October, the European Commission reached an ad referenda agreement with Turkey on a Joint Action Plan to step up their cooperation on migration management in a coordinated effort to tackle the refugee crisis.
At the European Council of 15 October, Heads of State and Government of the EU’s 28 Member States endorsed the agreement and welcomed the joint Action Plan.

The Action Plan identifies a series of collaborative actions to be implemented as a matter of urgency by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey with the aim of confronting common challenges in a concerted manner and supplementing Turkey’s efforts in managing the large number of people in need of protection in Turkey.

In addition, the European Union – the institutions and its Member States – also committed to increasing political engagement with Turkey, providing Turkey with significant financial support, accelerating the fulfilment of the visa liberalisation roadmap and re-energising the accession process with Turkey.

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