EU funding has helped refugees in Turkey, but Ankara’s refusal to provide a list of beneficiaries has created doubt that the assistance is being used well, the European Court of Auditors noted in a report published on Tuesday. The auditors focussed on an initial aid of 1.1 billion euros provided for close to four million mainly-Syrian refugees in Turkey under a 2016 agreement aimed primarily at stemming refugee inflows into the European Union (EU).
Bettina Jacobsen, a member of the Court, said the auditors could see that the money had gone to the refugees but that they could not be certain that all the money reached them as it should. “There is a doubt,” she told the press in Brussels.
The Court said it regretted the fact that it was unable to monitor the beneficiaries of the assistance from the time they registered to the moment they actually received the money since the Turkish authorities invoked the protection of data and refused to give the beneficiaries’ names and the type of assistance they received.
According to Jakobsen, who has been working at the Court for three years now, this is the first time the institution has come up against such a refusal.
She added that UN agencies and other organisations involved in the projects linked to this aid had been able to “attenuate this risk” by putting internal controls in place.
In its recommendations, the Court asked the European Commission, as the governing body of the 28-member EU, to put pressure on Ankara to make the data on the beneficiaries available for the next tranche of the assistance, amounting to three billion euros between the end of 2018 and 2019.
The Brussels Times