Several EU member states — including Germany — are denying further payments to Turkey as part of the refugee agreement between Ankara and Brussels, German magazine Spiegel reported, referring to internal EU documents.
The documents revealed that several EU countries have repeatedly protested against the financing of the deal during a number of closed meetings.
For instance, a Germany's representative said on 28 June 2017 that a decision to transfer the second tranche of money should only be made when EU-Turkey common projects have been implemented.
The magazine noted that so far, less than half of 26 long-term projects (e.g. construction of schools and hospitals) have been put into practice, while others have not even yet been launched.
The main bone of contention among EU countries is where the money should come from.
The first tranche of some three billion euro was paid both by the EU (one third) and its member states (two thirds), depending on their size and economic strength. Germany spent almost a half billion euro — more than any other country. The EU Commission wants the same procedure to be applied to the second tranche. But many countries are resisting the scheme.
In a joint letter to the EU Commission, Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Finland demanded that the remaining three billion euro should be paid entirely from the EU budget. But the head of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has rejected the idea.
One of the EU Commission's members told the magazine that the dispute over money shows the EU-Turkey deal is not a well-thought-out plan, but a rather hasty measure. The agreement was negotiated "overnight" and this "is not the way people work in the EU," he added.
On March 18, 2016, Ankara and Brussels agreed upon a policy in which so-called "irregular migrants" would be sent back from Greece to Turkey in return for specially selected Syrian refugees housed in Turkish refugee camps to be resettled in Europe.
The deal has led to a drop in the number of new migrants arriving in Europe, but at the same time, it has resulted in thousands of refugees being forced to resort to unsafe routes operated by smugglers.