The European Parliament has today approved a further funding program for Syrian refugees in Turkey, as the country continues to host around 4 million of them.
EU lawmakers approved the amendment to its budget for this year, allocating an extra €149.6 million ($170 million) in funding for Syrian refugees staying in Turkey. It was passed with 588 votes in favour and 87 against it, as well as 14 abstentions.
The move extends the bloc’s already-existing cash assistance scheme which provides monthly funding for the most vulnerable Syrian refugees, enabling them to cover essential payments such as rent, bills, food and medicine.
Above all, the funding program would have ended in early 2022 if today’s extension and additional funding had not prolonged it.
The approval comes at a time when the Turkish government, and particularly the Turkish public, is feeling the weight of hosting millions of refugees. As a result of the increased tensions and anti-refugee sentiment, there has been a spate of attacks against refugees over the past few months, especially by Turkish ultranationalists.
Turkey has also played a major role in stemming the flow of refugees to mainland Europe over the past decade, with Ankara repeatedly urging the EU states to share in that burden.