World Bulletin / News Desk
The European Union said Thursday that it had disbursed nearly €908 million ($1 billion) to aid refugees in Turkey, a figure far short of what it originally pledged.
A statement posted on the European Commission website said that new contracts worth €115 million ($134 million) were recently signed with organizations working for refugees in Turkey.
However, the total amount of the disbursement does not even approach the sum of €3 billion ($3.5 billion) promised in March 2016, while the bloc claimed that €2.9 billion ($3.37 billion) has been allocated as contracts have been signed for 55 projects worth over €1.78 billion ($2.07 billion).
Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations, meanwhile said in a statement that the bloc is continuing "to deliver its commitment in supporting refugees and host communities."
Under the EU-Turkey deal, which came into effect in March last year and has largely halted the tens of thousands of migrants crossing from Turkey to Europe, Brussels promised to speed up the allocation of €3 billion in aid to Turkey to help migrants.
International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesperson Joel Millman said last week that the number of asylum-seekers crossing into Greece had fallen sharply due to measures adopted by Turkey last year after the deal.
According to the latest IOM figures, nearly 23,000 migrants traveled from Turkey to Greece in the first 10 months of this year, compared to 170,000 last year, and 780,000 in 2015.
The deal also included an additional €3 billion aid package to help Turkey care for millions of refugees in the country.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday that the financial support the EU promised to Turkey will be fully respected.Last Mod: 09 Kasım 2017, 16:38