An 11-member delegation from the European Parliament's Committee on Budgets has met in Ankara on Tuesday with Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek and other Members of the Government and of the Turkish Parliament to listen to their views on the challenges of the Syrian refugee crisis and the country's actions and needs to cope with it.
The MEPs' intention is to assess how EU funds to support refugees are used on the ground, especially in view of the new €3bn support facility which is now being set up with funds from the EU budget and member states.
"Turkey is the largest recipient of EU funds outside the Union. Today, the EU is entering a new stage, alongside Turkey, mobilizing new financial resources for dealing with the refugee crisis. This crisis requires an ambitious and coordinated response, in partnership with UN agencies, Member States, NGOs, and of course the Turkish authorities", said Jean Arthuis (ALDE, FR), Head of the Delegation and Chair of the Committee on Budgets.
"What we clearly understood during our meetings here is how urgent the implementation of concrete measures to meet the needs of refugees actually is. To avoid wasting time, we told our hosts today, that is to say, Members and officials of the Government and of the Turkish Parliament, that there must be complete transparency in their needs assessment. The effectiveness and efficiency of the means available depend on it", he added.
Need for speed, but also for proper implementation
The MEPs, in their meetings with Members and officials of the Turkish Government and Turkish Parliament as well as representatives of the EU Commission, EU member states, international and local partners and human rights NGOs, have underlined the need to adequately control and monitor the way funds are spent. On the other hand, they highlighted the growing urgency to implement them speedily, since many more refugees keep arriving at the border with Syria and the political situation on the ground is becoming increasingly complex. They investigated, inter alia, about practical ways to coordinate and channel the new funds.
New €3bn "Refugee Facility": European Parliament to decide on a third of the package
According to the European Commission, the EU is the leading donor in the international response to the Syrian crisis, with over €5 billion from the EU and Member States collectively in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance. The EU's support goes both to Syrians in their country and to refugees and their host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. The Committee on Budgets of the European Parliament, which together with the Council of the EU constitutes the Budget authority of the EU, has a clear interest in gathering information on the ground to feed into the debates and decisions on amending EU budgets as well as future EU budgets, in particular concerning the recently announced €3bn Refugee Facility, to which the EU Budget is expected to contribute a share of €1bn, as recently announced.
On Wednesday, the delegation of the Committee on Budgets will travel to the Southeastern part of Turkey to visit a refugee camp and different projects on the ground.
Head of Delegation: Jean Arthuis (ALDE, FR), Chair of the Committee on Budgets
Delegation members: Jean ARTHUIS (ALDE, FR, Head of delegation), José Manuel FERNANDES (EPP, PT), Paul RÜBIG (EPP, AT), Inese VAIDERE (EPP, LV), Jens GEIER (S&D, DE), Jean-Paul DENANOT (S&D, FR), Anders VISTISEN (ECR, DK), Anneli JÄÄTTEENMÄKI (ALDE, FI), Younous OMARJEE (GUE/NGL, FR), Ernest MARAGALL (Greens/EFA, ES) and Marco ZANNI (EFDD, IT).