Today, on 2 March, the European Commission published its Fifth Report on the Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and the First Annual Report on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.Today, on 2 March, the European Commission published its Fifth Report on the Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and the First Annual Report on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.
After almost one year, the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March continues to deliver tangible results, despite the challenging circumstances. Daily crossings from Turkey to the Greek islands have gone down from 10,000 persons in a single day in October 2015 to 43 a day now. Overall, arrivals have dropped by 98%. The number of lives lost in the Aegean Sea since the Statement took effect has also substantially fallen; 70 fatalities and missing persons have been recorded in the Aegean Sea since the EU-Turkey Statement. This remains a human tragedy, but it represents a substantial fall from the around 1,100 people who died over the same period in 2015-2016. Return operations have continued to be carried out with a total of 1,487 returns since the Statement was activated.
Progress on other areas of the Statement continues, with the Commission continuing to accelerate the delivery of funding under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey. The disbursements have reached EUR 750 million (from 677 million). Out of the EUR 2.2 billion already allocated for 2016-2017, contracts have now been signed for 39 projects for an increased amount of EUR 1.5 billion – half of the EUR 3 billion – all of which have started being implemented.
A stable pace of resettlements of Syrian refugees from Turkey has been achieved. As of 27 February 2017, the total number of Syrians resettled from Turkey to the EU under the “one for one” framework was 3,565. Member States are advancing well with preparing further resettlement operations and have indicated their plan to admit a further 34,000 Syrians from Turkey, including via the “one for one” and other national schemes. As a consequence, the Commission has revised the funding programmes for the relevant Member States to include €213 million in financial support of such legal admissions, including resettlement.
The European Commission is also continuing to work with Turkey to encourage progress on meeting the outstanding benchmarks of the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap and the Council has started its examination of the negotiating directive for upgrading the Customs Union.