The European Union on Tuesday unlocked another €110 million ($126 dollars) as part of a multi-billion aid package to meet the needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The European Commission said in a statement that €60 million ($67.9 million) will be spent to cover food, healthcare and accommodation expenses of refugees and migrants who have been returned from Greece to Turkey. A further €50 million ($56.6 million) will be spent on humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees already in Turkey.
"The new ‘Facility for Refugees in Turkey’ allows us to significantly increase our support to help people live in dignity," Christos Stylianides, commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, said in the statement.
"Today's additional €50 million in humanitarian aid demonstrates the EU's commitment to quickly mobilize humanitarian partners and help the people who need our assistance most," Stylianides added.
The total amount of money that the EU has spent so far on meeting the needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey, as part of a multi-billion euro aid package, is €187 million ($211.8 million), according to the European Commission, which serves as the EU’s executive body.
The multi-billion euro facility is part of a joint EU-Turkey refugee action plan, under which the bloc has pledged aid to meet the needs of refugees in Turkey, visa liberalization and speeding up the candidate country’s accession talks in exchange for Turkey stemming the flow of refugees seeking to enter Europe.
According to the agreement, the EU is supposed to provide €6 billion ($6.8 billion) in aid to help Turkey care for millions of refugees. The EU will disburse the initially allocated €3 billion ($3.4 billion) under the “Facility for Refugees in Turkey” and ensure funding of further projects for persons under temporary protection identified with input from Turkey.
According to EU-Turkey statement released on the bloc's official website on March 18, a list of projects for refugees in the field of health, education, infrastructure, food and other living costs, which can be swiftly financed from the facility, will be jointly identified. “Once these resources are about to be used to the full, and provided the above commitments are met, the EU will then mobilize additional funding for the facility of an additional €3 billion [$3.4 billion] up to the end of 2018,” according to the statement.