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European Parliaments Turkey Rapporteur Kati Piri says EUs offer to provide funds to Turkey should have been made a long time ago.

EU’s offer of funds to Turkey as part of its plan to deal with refugee crisis should have been made a long time ago, European Parliaments Turkey Rapporteur Kati Piri told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

Turkey should have been given support much earlier when it comes to financially coping with providing for these 2.5 million refugees, Piri said, adding “[it] is not enough”.

Faced with the worst migrant crisis since World War II, the EU is in the process of negotiating with Turkey on a refugee action plan, under which the 28-nation-bloc has offered Turkey funds to reduce the flow of asylum seekers coming into Europe in exchange for easier visa travel rules for Turkish citizens seeking to visit Europe.

Under the action plan, which was presented by the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels on Oct. 5, the EU offered €1 billion ($1.13 billion) in humanitarian assistance for refugees hosted in Turkey.

The Turkish government, according to official figures, has so far spent $7.6 billion on caring for the 2.5 million refugees it hosts inside the country.

It’s very much in the interest of the EU to find good agreements on how to deal with this refugee crisis, Piri said.

She said that the EU and Turkey must discuss ways to deal with resettlement of refugees, which she called a sensitive topic in Europe because of disagreements among member states on how to distribute refugees across the 28-nation bloc.

The solution cannot just be [that] we pay Turkey in order to keep the refugees in Turkey… that is of course not the solution and it wouldn’t be fair to Turkey either, she said.

We already have problems about how to among the 28 [member states] divide the refugees in solidarity with each other; that is already difficult, let alone to make an agreement on how we can provide safe and legal routes for refugees who want to come here [Europe] through Turkey.

EU border agency Frontex said Tuesday that 710,000 asylum seekers had entered EU within the first nine months of the year, with many travelling through Turkey.

If we [EU] really want to help refugees to stay close to their homes but also help Turkey and Turkish society which is on much more pressure because of a large number of Syrians in Turkey…it means we need to live up to what we say if we want to have better facilities for refugees in the region, Piri said.

It simply means Europe will also have to pay for it, she said.

SOURCE: http://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/eu-s-plan-to-give-turkey-funds-for-refugees-not-enough-/467190

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