S&Ds in Turkey: Three billion Euros have to be used effectively to prevent crisis from becoming a disaster

People who provide humanitarian assistance to refugees should be celebrated not prosecuted

S&D MEPs have called for the EU to step up its efforts and ensure that the 3 billion Euros promised to tackle the refugee crisis in Turkey is quickly made available so it can be used to provide essential education, food and health facilities. The call came during a visit by a delegation from the European Parliament's justice and home affairs committee to the South-East of Turkey. The visit involved meetings with international NGOs, ministers and members of the Turkish government and Assembly and trips to the Nizip refugee camp and urban areas where the vast majority of refugees are living in precarious conditions. The delegation is being led by S&D vice-president Sylvie Guillaume, alongside S&D colleagues Tanja Fajon and Péter Niedermüller.

S&D vice-president Sylvie Guillaume said:

"We welcome the continued efforts made by the Turkish authorities in welcoming huge numbers of refugees and providing them with help and support. They have shown true international leadership in their response to the crisis. However, as this is a global and long term challenge, it is clear that the systems here are under strain and the burden needs to be shared jointly by the EU and Turkey. This is particularly true for supporting refugees living in camps, where action is needed primarily in education, training and in fighting against child labour. Therefore the joint EU-Turkey action plan has to be implemented as quickly as possible in close cooperation with civil society.

"It is of paramount importance that the 3 billion Euros promised should immediately and directly be used to finance local authorities and NGOs dealing with the crisis and that everything should be done to end the war in Syria and the recent bombings in Aleppo."

 S&D vice-president Tanja Fajon said:

"If we want to avoid this crisis from becoming a disaster then we need to ensure that the 3 billion Euros gets to the where it is needed immediately. Every lost day means more pain and suffering for those fleeing war and persecution. We need to wake up to the scale of the crisis on our borders - we have to recognise that solving this crisis will require a large scale resettlement of Syrian refugees from Turkey. Talk of new fences in the southern Balkans is not helpful - instead we need to see that closer cooperation between Greece and Turkey is the only way to prevent further loss of life."

S&D bureau member, Péter Niedermüller added:

"During this trip we have seen a lot of children in the camps. Considering there is no hope of them returning to Syria in the near future more needs to be done to educate and integrate them. This will give them hope of a proper and decent future. To do this we need to ensure money gets where it is needed as soon as possible."