World Bulletin / News Desk
The opposition of “maybe a few” EU members to a 3 billion-euro ($3.27 billion) aid package for refugees in Turkey has been criticized by other EU states, Germany’s foreign minister said Tuesday.
“The EU has promised 3 billion euros aid to Turkey for the accommodation of refugees but so far nothing concrete has happened in terms of the finance,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier told journalists at the Foreign Press Association in Germany.
“There is at least one, maybe a few more countries, which have not yet approved this. Therefore, during the EU foreign ministers’ meeting yesterday, there was heavy criticism of these countries for denying their approval so far.
“It is clear that we cannot only expect Turkey to fulfill its commitments while the European side is not doing the same.”
Italy has reportedly objected to the formula proposed for collecting the funding, which is planned to come from both the EU budget and member states. Italy reportedly wants the EU to pay a greater share.
The aid is to improve living conditions for the near 2.5 million refugees in Turkey and reinforce Turkey’s borders.
Steinmeier has praised Turkey in recent months for opening its labor market to Syrian refugees and stepping up its fight against people smugglers who take refugees from Turkey to Greece.
He said the EU expected Turkey to better protect its borders against traffickers and review its visa-free arrangements with North African countries where many refugees come from.Last Mod: 20 Ocak 2016, 09:20