Turkey’s EU minister says bloc should fulfill its promises

Turkey’s EU Minister Volkan Bozkir says EU should fulfil promises in 3 billion euro refugee deal

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkey’s Minister of European Union Volkan Bozkir speaks to the press in Brussels on Jan. 15, 2016

Turkey’s Minister of European Union Volkan Bozkir said on Wednesday that the European Union must fulfil its promises as part of a 3 billion euro deal it struck with Turkey to help refugees in the country and limit the flow of refugees into the bloc.

Speaking on live interview, Bozkir said that Turkey had fulfilled its side of the bargain, but that the EU must resolve its internal differences, after European officials said last week that Italy was blocking plans to release the earmarked cash.

"The method (countries) will use regarding the deal is a matter of EU's internal affairs," Bozkir added.

Turkey and the EU reached a deal over aiding to Syrian refugees and acceleration of Turkey’s accession talks to the union in a summit that brought together EU leaders and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels on Nov 29.

EU confirmed that the 28-nation bloc will provide 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) for Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The agreement aims to reduce the number of refugees entering the EU and also crack down on illegal human trafficking with increased border controls.

Turkey is expected to expand patrols across the Aegean Sea and along its borders with Greece and Bulgaria.  

However, EU states have been discussing on how to provide 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion). According to officials, Italy blocks the deal by saying the money should come from the EU budget not from the EU members.

Italy’s objections regarding how the 3 billion-euro fund should be paid have been continuing, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said. “But we hope that that is possible very, very soon,” he added.

Turkey hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees with almost 2.2 million refugees.

Thousands of refugees have been marching towards western European countries, using a route through Greece-Macedonia-Serbia-Hungary-Austria from east to west, forcing the 28-member bloc to face its worst refugee crisis in decades.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Jan. 15  said that the EU's reputation is being damaged worldwide for the failure of member countries to manage the refugee crisis.

TRTWorld, Reuters