July 29, 2021

EU auditors describe European aid to refugees in Turkey as "inefficient"

EU auditors describe European aid to refugees in Turkey as "inefficient"



The Court of Auditors of the European Union today described as "inefficient" the European aid to humanitarian projects for refugees in Turkey, although the basic needs "are covered".

According to a report published today by the Court, the independent audit institution of the European Union (EU), this inefficiency is due to the "inadequate management" of funds, the lack of data and the growing difficulties of NGOs since the bankrupt coup d'état in Turkey.

The auditors criticized the "insufficient" coordination in the mobilization of the first tranche of the aid agreed in the migratory pact between Brussels and Ankara of March 2016, of 3,000 million euros, to be distributed between 2016 and 2017.

In particular, they examined the results of aid in humanitarian projects aimed at assisting refugees, mainly through cash benefits, alluding to the greater time that the rest of the activities require to give tangible results.

Although the auditors could see that the basic needs of the refugees were "covered", the aid "has not fully met its objective of coordinating a response (to the refugee crisis) effectively," he said at a press conference the leader of the team of auditors, Bettina Jakobsen.

Jakobsen said that although most of the projects audited had achieved the expected performance, half had not achieved sustainable long-term benefits.

"You could have achieved much more with the same money, but (the benefits) on the ground are visible, they are tangible," he said in statements to Efe the main manager of room III of the European court, in charge of the inspection, Alejandro Ballester, who estimated that close to "1.5 million refugees have benefited from cash assistance programs."

The Court however criticized the refusal of the Turkish authorities to provide the necessary information to track the progress of the beneficiaries of cash aid projects from their registration until they receive the benefits, in accordance with the legislation in force in the country. Data Protection.

This made it impossible to compare the list of refugees registered by the Turkish authorities upon entering the country with the final list of beneficiaries of European projects, from which they could only obtain anonymous data that greatly limited the accuracy of their inspection, the auditors assured.

"Since working for the Court, I have never seen myself in the situation of not having received the required documents," Jakobsen confessed in this regard, who took the opportunity to criticize the magnitude of the administrative cost overruns, often "insufficiently justified".

As a result, the auditors proposed a battery of recommendations to the European Commission (EC), including simplifying and ensuring the complementarity of aid mechanisms, developing a transition strategy from humanitarian aid to development aid and improving the efficiency of projects. of cash assistance.

He also called on the community executive to agree with Ankara on the priorities to be addressed in areas related to municipal infrastructure and socioeconomic support, and to intensify the supervision and follow-up on the agreed aid.

Finally, the audit body urged the Commission to put pressure on Turkey to share information regarding refugees and, in addition, to alleviate the situation experienced by international NGOs after the failed coup d'état in the country, which has resulted in a "much more restrictive environment" and intervals of "suspense in the start-up of projects", according to Ballester.

The European aid to refugees in Turkey agreed in the agreement consists of two tranches, of 3,000 million euros each, totaling 6,000 million to be distributed between 2016 and 2019.

Of the first tranche, of which 1,400 million euros were destined to humanitarian projects, 2,000 million were paid by the Member States and 1,000 million came from the community funds.

The European Court of Auditors sent the report to the EC, which will then be forwarded to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to discuss the recommendations and their implementation, although it does not foresee any further audits on the situation of refugees in the field.

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