The European Union Commission offered an additional €3 billion ($3.72 billion) for Syrian refugees in Turkey as part of a 2016 deal, an official from the bloc said Wednesday.
European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos told a press conference that the bloc was due to move the second tranche of €3 billion for projects supporting Syrian refugees in Turkey.
In a statement, the commission said: “The first tranche of the Facility set up in 2016 was made up of €1 billion [$1.24 billion] from the EU budget and €2 billion [$2.48 billion] from Member States’ contributions.
“The Commission proposes to continue this arrangement so that the successful and effective work of the Facility for projects benefiting refugees in Turkey can continue.”
The offer came ahead of a key EU-Turkey summit set for March 26 in Varna, Bulgaria bringing together EU leaders and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal aiming to stem the irregular migration flow through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The deal also allows for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, on the condition that Ankara meets all 72 requirements set by the EU.
Turkey has long complained of the EU being slow to deliver the promised funds for refugees and failing to uphold its end of the deal concerning visa-free travel.
Last November European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the financial support the EU promised to Turkey will be fully respected.
“I would like to be very clear. We have promised €3 billion for the refugee program and another €3 billion euros to Turkey for the coming years. This decision of the EU will be respected fully,” Juncker said.