EU refugee funding lagging: German development minister
Germany’s minister for economic cooperation and development Friday criticized the EU's method of delivering funds for refugee care, as pledged under an agreement this March between the EU and Ankara.
Speaking to German daily Augsburger Allgemeine, Gerd Muller echoed Turkey's criticisms that the EU has so far delivered a relatively small sum of money for the refugees’ care.
The delivery of such aid shouldn't take a year, said Muller, saying that to date only €800 million euros ($844.1 million) out of a pledged €3 billion ($3.16 billion) has been sent.
"We have a problem on the EU side. So I recommended to Brussels that the EU aid would be applied by Germany as part of Turkish-German cooperation," he said.
"Turkey does a very good job caring for refugees," he added.
Separately, Muller said that Germany has hired 8,000 Syrian teachers since September to instruct Syrian children.
Turkey hosts some 3 million Syrian refugees, the largest number in the world, and so far has spent more than $20-$25 billion on their care, according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
Syria has remained locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to UN figures.
Turkey and the EU signed a refugee deal this March to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by cracking down on human traffickers and improving the conditions of the refugees in Turkey.
The deal also allowed for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals in the Schengen area.
However, in the months since, Turkey’s EU accession has remained stalled, and the union has not extended visa liberalization, saying Turkey has not fulfilled the requirements for doing so.
On Nov. 24, the European Parliament approved a non-binding motion to freeze Turkey’s EU membership talks with Turkey.
In response, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey could open its borders and allow refugees into the EU.
The EU countries' leaders are also set to evaluate relations with Turkey at next week’s EU summit on Dec. 15-16.
Last Modified: 2016-12-10 12:56:01
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