Marinela Petrova, deputy finance minister of Bulgaria

Marinela Petrova, deputy finance minister of Bulgaria has said that “The facility for refugees is running successfully and has provided Syrian refugees in Turkey valuable help with essentials, such as health care and schooling. Today’s agreement comes in time to ensure that our support for the different projects on the ground can continue without interruption, in line with our promise from 2016.”

The 28 EU member states agreed on how to finance an additional €3 billion for the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey to support Syrian refugees.

Following the political agreement reached in the European Council, member states confirmed at the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) that €2 billion of this amount will be financed from the EU budget and the remaining €1 billion by contributions from the member states according to their share of the EU’s GNI.

The agreement honours the commitment undertaken by the EU under the EU-Turkey statement of 18 May 2016 to provide a second instalment of €3 billion for the refugee facility before the €3 billion initially allocated has been fully used up. It allows the Commission to prepare concrete measures in order to make additional funds available for refugees.

The facility has been providing assistance for refugees in Turkey in a number of fields, such as humanitarian aid, health care, education and socioeconomic support.

The agreement on the second tranche of funding will ensure that projects in important areas, such as the education of child refugees, can continue without interruption when the contracts under the first tranche come to an end.

Compared to 2016, when the funding of the first tranche was decided, there is no longer such an urgent need to make a large amount of money available quickly. Member states therefore considered that commitments should again be spread over two years – 2018 and 2019 – but that the contracting period should be extended until 2020. This will ease the pressure on the annual EU budgets, which will fund a larger proportion of this second tranche than they did for the first.

Under the agreement reached today, the facility for refugees will continue to be overseen by a steering committee bringing together representatives from the European Commission and the member states. Its task is to make sure that the projects are properly carried out for the benefit of refugees.

Next steps

Pending an agreement on the financing of the second tranche for the facility for refugees, the Council approved, on 22 June 2018, draft amending budget no 3 to the 2018 EU budget. The draft amending budget allocates €500 million from the EU budget to finance an extension of the facility in 2018. The European Parliament is expected to adopt it at its plenary sitting on 4 July 2018. Further funds for the facility are envisaged in the draft EU budget for 2019.

At the same time as agreeing on the launching of the second tranche of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, EU leaders also agreed today that €500 million will be transferred from the 11th European Development Fund reserve to the EU Trust Fund for Africa. Member States are moreover called upon to make further contributions to replenish the EU Trust Fund for Africa. These additional funds should help address the needs of migrants and the root causes of migration.

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