Mar 31 2018

EU members uneasy about financing refugee deal - leaked docs

The national delegates of the European Union (EU) member countries no longer want to finance the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey from their individual budgets and have suggested the funds to be earmarked from pre-accession funds or the EU’s main budget, according to the leaked minutes of the Steering Committee meeting on Jun. 28, 2017, obtained by The Black Sea and shared with the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) network.

The EU-Turkey refugee deal agreed two years ago aimed to cut the influx of Syrian refugees arriving in Greece. According to the deal, the EU promised to allocate a total of €6 billion in aid to Turkey to help migrants, while Turkey pledged to increase security along its borders. EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos announced in mid-March 6 that the first €3 billion had been fully allocated for the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey and on March 14 The European Commission approved the second tranche on March 14.

Germany, the United Kingdom and France made the highest contribution for the first €3 billion allocation to the facility. The leaked minutes show that the issue of the second tranche to be paid for the deal was discussed during the Steering Committee meeting and an unnamed German representative cautioned against “a premature decision on the second tranche of three billion euro” and suggested focusing on the projects to be implemented via the first tranche. 

According to the Black Sea, the leaked minutes confirm that a “joint declaration” was signed by six member states: Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, asking the European Commission to “check how a hypothetical second tranche could be financed by the EU budget in its entirety”.

The Black Sea also claims that several member states are considering an exit from the agreement and questioning the EU’s uneasy alliance with Turkey, while according to the leaked minutes, Turkey is pushing for the payment of a third tranche.