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    Migrants wait to travel to Greek island of Lesbos, near the Aegean town of Ayvacik, Turkey, Friday, Jan. 29, 2016

    EU States Divide Cost of Paying Turkey to Handle Refugee Crisis

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    The countries of the European Union have agreed to provide two-thirds of the money which has been offered to tackle the migration crisis in Turkey, media reports said.

    The member states of the EU will inject two-thirds of the aid package the union has promised to help resolve the migration gridlock in Turkey. The countries' contributions will be proportionate to their national GDPs, RIA Novosti quoted Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders as saying. 

    Koenders, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, made the remarks during a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

    Refugees and migrants disembark on a beach after crossing a part of the Aegean sea from the Turkey's coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016
    © AP Photo/ Santi Palacios
    Refugees and migrants disembark on a beach after crossing a part of the Aegean sea from the Turkey's coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016

    "The [EU] member states intend to allocate two thirds of  the requested amount for financing the mechanism. Contributions will be calculated according to national GDP," he said.

    His statement came as Italy continues to block the European Commission's move to allocate three billion euros in EU money to curb the influx of refugees into EU countries.

    On November 29, 2015, the European Union and Turkey approved a joint plan under which EU member states will give about three billion euros to Ankara and fast track negotiations for its accession to the 28-nation bloc.

    Earlier, the European Commission endorsed the creation of a special 3-billion-euro fund for refugees in Turkey. The EC itself had planned to allocate 500 million to the fund, while the EU countries were to cover the remaining 2.5 billion euros.

    The German newspaper Die Welt reported late last week that Ankara has allegedly demanded an additional two billion euros for the purpose, but that Brussels has responded by making it plain that it is only ready to provide Ankara with the sum that had been agreed upon before.

    Turkey remains a key transit route for refugees. Right now, more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees and 300,000 Iraqi migrants are living temporarily in Turkey; many of them seek to travel onwards to Europe. According to Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Turkey plays a key role in solving the migration crisis in Europe.

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    Tags:
    GDP, aid, refugees, migration, European Commission, Turkey
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